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Sandeep Patil finds spark in Nathu, bowler still ‘can’t believe’

When Nathu Singh got a call from one of his Rajasthan teammates informing him about his selection in the Board President’s XI squad for the two-day match against South Africa, he thought that someone was pulling a prank on him.

Little known Nathu has just played three Ranji Trophy matches this season and chairman of selectors Sandeep Patil said that “there was glimpse of spark in him” that prompted them to select the boy for Board President’s XI.

“Today a teammate called up and said “Congratulations” and I just said “what for? He informed me about my selection and I told him that please don’t joke. It’s not possible but then I was a bit curious and checked the internet. I found my name and couldn’t believe it. It’s yet to sink in,” the Rajasthan fast bowler, who has been included in a BCCI representative team after just three first-class games, told PTI on Monday.

For him the biggest compliment has come from MRF Pace Foundation’s chief coach and Australian legend Glenn McGrath.

“McGrath sir after watching me at the nets told local coaches that I have a good incoming delivery and he was impressed with my pace. He has said I am India’s future. He has advised that I should never compromise on pace. The highest speed that I have clocked is 145 kmph,” said Nathu, who got 7/87 on his first-class debut against Delhi.

While Nathu has 11 wickets in his 3-match career so far, Patil looked at it from a different perspective. For him, it is the x-factor that matters.

“We are always looking at something special. Selectors’ job is not only to go by the scoresheets otherwise the statisticians would have done a better job. For last three years, we have been watching all the home games. We always try to find extra talent and extra spark and we saw some glimpse in Nathu Singh and we want to give him an opportunity,” Patil said after the selection meeting on Monday. For Nathu, there is no intimidation as he will be pitted against the likes of Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers. “My job is to bowl fast and pick wickets. Do whatever the captain tells me. I am not thinking about bowling to De Villiers and when the India cap is coming. That would be putting too much pressure on myself.

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