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Parvinder Awana has been drafted into the Indian squad for their fourth test versus England, replacing an out of form Zaheer Khan. The 26 year old pacer from Noida has impressed everyone with his bowling in the ongoing Ranji trophy matches, where he plays for Delhi. Awana boasts an impressive first class record with 131 wickets from 40 matches.
In the match between Delhi and Karnataka which is currently underway, Awana tore through the opposition, scalping five wickets in the first innings. But he wasnâ€™t done yet. As Delhi found themselves in the dumps, Awana walked in to bat when the scoreboard read 144 for 7, trailing Karnataka by 44 runs. Awana then rooted himself in, slowly knocking off the deficit. When he was just about to reach his fifty, the news of his selection came in. But Awana kept a cool head and once Delhi took the lead, he began playing more aggressively. When Karnataka finally managed to pry him off the pitch, the damage had already been done. Awana had scored 74 runs, the highest contribution made to the side that innings. As he took the ball in the second innings, Awana continued to keep the pressure on the Karnataka batsmen.
Awana first came into the national spotlight in the Indian Premier League where he plays for the Kings XI Punjab. Brought in as a replacement for an injured RP Singh, his performance has ensured that he will now be one of the regulars in the squad. Consistently bowling around the 140kmh mark, Awana has sent many established international batsmen back to the dugout with his swing. He picked up a total of 17 wickets this IPL season, with names like Chris Gayle in the tally. Captain Adam Gilchrist has also repeatedly praised his skill with the ball.
A timely national call-up comes as a huge boost to Awanaâ€™s fledgling career. For someone who has been playing first class cricket for the last 6 years, he has been faced with rejection by the selectors on multiple occasions. The last time he was sidelined was for the Indian tour of the Caribbean last June, which came as he was playing standout first class cricket. Understandably dejected, he vowed to give it his all until he just couldnâ€™t be ignored anymore. And all his hard work has clearly paid off.
Awana spent his childhood in a small village near Noida. His father passed away when he was just 13 years old, leaving his mother as the only earning member of the family. Awana has cited her constant support as one of the reasons for his success. Awana has overcome his fair share of tribulations, and has finally been given the chance to prove himself on an international stage.
Looking forward, Awana will need to use this opportunity to impress the nation, if he hopes to become a regular on the squad. With Indian fans thoroughly fed up at the kind of performance that has been put up so far against England, an impressive show by Awana could just about bowl him a tenured spot in the Indian squad.
While a selection in the final test of the series is not guaranteed, Awana has also been selected for the T20 series that follows, and hopefully he will get an opportunity then.
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