Jaipur: As Rajasthan rode on a fine bowling display by pace spearhead Pankaj Singh to enter the Ranji Trophy final, the bowler says he has learnt the art of getting a "batsman out" but insists he wants to add another "couple of yards to his pace."
"I have learnt to plan to get a batsman out and also to bowl in right areas. My main weapon was the outswinger, but now I have learnt to move the ball both ways," said Pankaj, whose four-wicket haul against Haryana in the second innings of the Ranji Trophy semi-final match was instrumental in shaping Rajasthan's victory.
Pankaj, who was picked by the selectors for the Australian tour in 2008 after S Sreesanth and Munaf Patel were ruled out with injuries, said he has evolved as a cricketer over the years and has learned to take failures in his stride.
"When I was picked for Australia I had little experience but now I have matured a lot. I have learnt to take the failures in my stride and also not get disheartened and keep going," Pankaj told PTI.
The 26-year-old lanky pacer, however, feels that he needs to be a bit quicker to add sting to his bowling.
"I am still bowling at 130-135 kmph and want to add few more yards to my pace," said Pankaj, who has managed to take 32 wickets in this Ranji season so far.
"Meyrick Pringle (bowling coach) has suggested a couple of finer points in my action which help me increase my speed. Soon after the Ranji final against Tamil Nadu I will start working on the technical adjustments."
The former South African fast bowler was appointed as the bowling coach of the Rajasthan cricket team mid-way through this Ranji season.
Pankaj was also hopeful of making a comeback to the national side with a stream of good performances in the domestic circuit.
"I want to give my best. For the past three years I have been among the top wicket-takers in domestic cricket. I picked 43 wickets last season. I already have 32 wickets to my name this year. I believe these performances were taken note of by the national selectors," he said.
He was also optimistic that his team would defend their title against Tamil Nadu, but said the hosts had got some serious talent in their ranks.
"Tamil Nadu are a good side and have bunch of experienced players," he insisted.
The bowler, however, said a lot would depend on the wicket.
"They might not go for a wicket like Rohtak. It was not a bad wicket but it was not a good one either. It was too bowler-oriented and difficult for batsmen," he said referring to the Lahli wicket used for the semi-final tie between Rajasthan and Haryana.
That pitch saw 18 wickets tumbling on the first day of the match and didn't even last the entire duration of four days, with no team managing to cross the 200-run mark.
"As a bowler I might say that if there are wickets producing 600 runs then why we can't have Rohtak-like wickets. But I would prefer more sporting wickets," he said.
Talking about the newcomers like Deepak Chahar and Rituraj Singh in the Rajasthan ranks, Pankaj said as a bowler you need to be improving all the time.
"When you are playing your first season you are unknown and batsmen might fall to you as they take you lightly but in the next season people are prepared for you," he explained.