I didn't lose hope, knew my time would come: Ishwar Pandey

Ishwar PandeyIshwar Pandey was the leading wicket-taker in the 2012-13 season with 48 wickets with an average of 21.06 (File)

Ishwar Pandey was relaxing on a quite Tuesday afternoon at his home in Rewa. The year so far has been good for him. In fact, it was his breakthrough year. A text message from a friend distracted him. "Congrats," it read. It went on to deliver the biggest news of his life: he had just received a maiden call-up to the national Test and ODI team.

Pandey, last season's highest wicket-taker in Ranji trophy, was selected for India's tour of New Zealand, which begins later this month. Pandey's selection sparked huge celebrations in Rewa, which has not produced an international cricketer before. "My father was sleeping in his room and had no idea I had been selected. Eventually, I had to inform them several hours of later. But since then, I have been getting endless calls," Pandey said.

Two good seasons

Pandey was the leading wicket-taker in the 2012-13 Ranji Trophy season, taking 48 wickets with an average of 21.06. He has remained effective in the current Ranji season as well, taking 30 wickets in eight games at 24.76, including best figures of 8 for 84 against Railways in Indore. The lanky medium-pacer is known to use his height to get good bounce even from a good length. He is capable of moderate speeds, around the, mid-130 kmph mark.

Pandey's father, a retired Subedar Major in Army, did not want his eldest son to take up cricket. Like most other parent, they wanted him to concentrate on his studies. "Only after my coach Anthony convinced them, did they agreed. He served the nation and it's my time now," Pandey added.

The call-up, though, hasn't come as a complete surprise to Pandey. He was praised by India A coach Lalchand Rajput for his consistent performances during the team's tour to South Africa a few months ago. Pandey had taken 11 wickets in two three-day games. "I was hoping to get picked soon. I had the feeling because I had done well in South Africa. I was not losing hope and knew my time will come," he said.

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