Pacer Sangwan keen to extend form to World Cup

By Qaiser Mohammad Ali

New Delhi, Jan 23 (IANS) Sitting in the Ferozeshah Kotla ground, latest pace bowling sensation Pradeep Sangwan munched away Bingo chips after he made an instant impact on the Indian cricket scene.

Support TwoCircles

The 17-year-old is going through a terrific season. He first bowled for Delhi to win the Ranji Trophy and then not surprisingly found a place in the under-19 World Cup squad.

Sangwan’s performance in his debut first-class season has simply been bingo — literally meaning ‘to announce an unexpected event or instantaneous result’ – because his 33-wicket haul made him an instant hit, and the selectors rewarded his performance by picking him for the World Cup, beginning Feb 17 in Malaysia.

“It has been a good season for me and I am looking forward to extending my form to the World Cup,” Sangwan told IANS here.

The teenager could have added a few more wickets to his tally but for a freak ankle injury, sustained while playing football and which forced him to miss a match and then rains prevented him from bowling a ball against Karnataka.

But his 33 wickets were enough to place him the among the top 11 wicket-takers in the national championship, just eight less than the season’s top wicket- taker, debutant Sudeep Tyagi of Uttar Pradesh, another fast bowling sensation.

Sangwan, a student of Ravinder Public School in Pitampura, was clearly the find of the season for Delhi and a big hope for India.

“When I took the five-wicket haul against Mumbai, people had started saying that I would be picked for the under-19 World Cup, and I thought so too,” said the tall, well-built youngster from the famous Najafgarh, a Delhi suburb made famous by Virender Sehwag.

Sangwan, in fact, shares Sehwag’s coach Amar Nath Sharma. He has learnt his cricketing rudiments, like the Indian opening batsman, from soft-spoken coach at the same government school in Vikaspuri.

In just seven Ranji matches — preceded by a tour of Sri Lanka with the India under-19 side and recently to South Africa — Sangwan has made himself an indispensable part of the Delhi and the junior Indian team.

“I have a fair idea of the batsmen from South Africa, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka since I have bowled against them and, come to think of it, we are playing our first match against South Africa in the world cup,” he said.

Sangwan improved rapidly during the season and credits former India all-rounder and now Delhi bowling coach Manoj Prabhakar for making significant changes in his run-up and arm position while delivering the ball.

“He made my run-up a lot straighter as I earlier used to run in a bit diagonally. He also made me bowl with a cartwheel action and that helped me gain better control over my stock ball in-swinger. Earlier, I had a round-arm action,” he said.

Sangwan also thanked Delhi coach Vijay Dahiya for the encouragement throughout the season, in which he bagged 33 wickets at an excellent average of 19.24 containign two five-wicket hauls.

“He used to tell me the weaknesses of the batsmen as he had played with them till recently. He would regularly stand near the fine leg boundary and egg me on, saying ‘in this spell I want two wickets from you’. It kept me going,” he said.

“In the final against Uttar Pradesh, Dahiya repeatedly made me realise that I was lucky to play the Ranji final in my first season and pointed out that in his entire career he played just one Ranji final, which Delhi lost [1996-97].”

Sangwan says he has always admired former Pakistani left-arm speedster Wasim Akram. “He is my hero and I used to watch his matches as a child, though I have never met him. I also like Zaheer Khan and I met him during the Ranji final,” he said.