Picking the pieces

Left-arm spinner Rajesh Pawar called for suspect action,returns after two years to play for Andhra.

Written by Devendra Pandey | Published: October 17, 2012 12:53 am

Left-arm spinner Rajesh Pawar called for suspect action,returns after two years to play for Andhra.

Pulled up for an illegal action a few seasons back,one wondered what was next in store for left-arm spinner Rajesh Pawar. He was called for a suspect action after having played thirteen years of first-class cricket and after bowling 17,394 balls in the long form domestic cricket. It was a long period of tribulations and being under the scanner before he was put in the suspect category.

There were many questions Pawar wanted to ask,many nagging doubts he wanted to clear about this shocking reprimand after 13 years. But he couldn’t.

He could have revolted like off-spinner Sarandeep Singh did after being singled out for his suspect action for Himachal Pradesh but Pawar instead decided to follow the long route. He went off to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) which made him change his action and run-up before allowing him to resume playing BCCI’s domestic cricket.

Pawar still remembers the day when he felt terribly hurt after the umpire called him for chucking during a Ranji Trophy league game for Baroda against Delhi.

“I was suddenly termed a chucker and my action became illegal after playing 13 years of first class cricket. It was frustrating,in fact painful. I could do nothing except wait and do whatever I was asked to do at the NCA,” Pawar says.

When Pawar was called for his suspect action,he had the India label behind him. He had toured with the Indian Test team to Bangladesh and had been a frequent member of India A that went to Zimbabwe and Australia.

At the NCA,Pawar had to do make minute changes and his run-up was made slower than before.

“At the NCA,I made some small changes before getting back to cricket,” the 33-year-old added. Soon Delhi Daredevils signed him up but Ranji action was missing. Pawar wanted to play domestic cricket again but there were no vacancies anywhere. He came to Mumbai and served a cooling period too but the domestic champions had moved forward in their approach. They now had three young left-arm spinners fighting for a place in the Ranji side. “I tried my luck in Mumbai again but there was no spot available. There was already a young bunch of spinners in the side and all were doing well. Chances of making it to Mumbai were bleak. At 33,my dream of India is over but whatever cricket I have,I wanted to end it properly,” he explains.

It was just a few weeks ago,when former India wicket-keeper batsman MSK Prasad,who is looking at cricket operations at Andhra Cricket Association,called,asking for Pawar’s availability. “They (Andhra) needed a left-arm spinner when MSK called,I straight away said yes. I know that such opportunities won’t come. I hope to do well again,hoping for a good return to first class cricket,” he said.

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