Left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh during a practice session at SD School, Sector 24, in Chandigarh. (Keshav Singh/HT)
Left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh during a practice session at SD School, Sector 24, in Chandigarh. (Keshav Singh/HT)

Picked in India’s net bowlers squad, Chandigarh lad Arshdeep is raring to go

The lanky bowler has been constantly working on slower deliveries, bouncers, yorkers and kept his focus on bolstering mental strength
By Shalini Gupta, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON JUN 19, 2021 03:09 AM IST

Despite soaring temperatures in Chandigarh, left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh has been bowling relentlessly off-late in the nets with his coach Jaswant Rai.

IPL 14 may have been disrupted midway, but the Punjab Kings 6’3” tall speedster has been training hard with an eye on the Sri Lanka tour.

The lanky bowler has been constantly working on slower deliveries, bouncers, yorkers and kept his focus on bolstering mental strength.

The 22-year-old bowler might not have been included in the Shikhar Dhawan-led Indian team for Sri Lanka tour starting July 13 but he has made it to the net bowlers’ list, along with Ishan Porel, Sandeep Warrier, Sai Kishore and Simarjeet Singh for the ODI and T20 series.

And the best part about this selection according to him would be to be around coach Rahul Dravid and chewing his brain.

Dravid, who has been mentoring young cricketers in the recent years, has also played a significant role in fine-tuning Singh’s bowling while he played for India U-19 team and also attended camps at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru.

Looking forward to regrouping with Dravid after the U-19 World Cup in 2018 in New Zealand, this is what Singh said, “Dravid sir had been exceptional when I played for India U-19 team way back in 2017 and 2018. The way he inspired and backed the cricketers showed his class and expertise. So many cricketers of that batch are now either in the Indian team or knocking at the door of Indian team. I am so excited to be bowling with Dravid sir in attendance during the net sessions. I am going to ask him many questions and also take his valuable feedback.”

Both Porel and Singh were part of India’s victorious U-19 World Cup campaign in 2018 under captain Prithvi Shaw and coach Dravid.

Singh, who made his Indian Premier League (IPL) debut for Punjab Kings in 2019, had successful 2020 and 2021 stints for his franchise making a long-lasting impression with his bowling, especially in the death-overs.

Singh has been rewarded for picking 19 wickets in 17 IPL matches at an average and strike rate of 25.11 and 16.79 respectively. He showed his bowling prowess in IPL 14, taking the responsibility of bowling at crucial junctures and providing breakthroughs. Singh starred in the thrilling win over Rajasthan Royals in their season opener, bowling the final over of the game and dismissing in-form Sanju Samson.

“When one is bowling to the likes of Chris Gayle and KL Rahul in the nets and has a coach like Anil Kumble, one is going to improve and get better with each game. Then there was Mohammed Shami for inputs from the other bowling end. Also, the time I got to work on my fitness in the lockdown last season helped me perform well in both 2020 and 2021 IPLs. I am going to use all my experience of being around senior cricketers like Shikhar Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar,” felt Singh, who is Punjab’s strike-bowler along with Siddharth Kaul.

“I want to continue bowling well for Punjab Kings when IPL shifts to UAE in September and be consistent. IPL is a huge platform to learn from the best in the business and showcase talent,” added Singh.

The Chandigarh-based bowler earned accolades from all corners during IPL 14, including praise from former India left-arm quick bowler Irfan Pathan and his captain KL Rahul.

“Arshdeep has improved tremendously in the last three years. The experience he gained during IPLs helped him become more confident about himself. He is turning out to be a thinking bowler and is constantly working on improving. He knows he can be in the Indian team if he performs consistently for Punjab Kings in IPL and Punjab in domestic cricket,” shared his coach Rai, who is also a former Ranji Trophy player from Himachal Pradesh. India will play three ODIs and three T20s in Sri Lanka.

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