Punjab pacer Arshdeep selected for T20 series against South Africa

It was just before leaving for the Punjab Kings’ last IPL game that Arshdeep Singh, 23, got the news of his maiden international call-up for Team India
Arshdeep Singh has not only been doing well in IPL but also while playing for Punjab in the Ranji Trophy. (HT File Photo)
Arshdeep Singh has not only been doing well in IPL but also while playing for Punjab in the Ranji Trophy. (HT File Photo)
Updated on May 23, 2022 12:46 AM IST
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ByShalini Gupta, Chandigarh

It was just before leaving for the ground for Punjab Kings’ last Indian Premier League (IPL) game that Arshdeep Singh, 23, on Sunday learnt of his inclusion in the Indian team for T20s against South Africa in June. And needless to say, it was celebration time for his family back home in Kharar near Chandigarh.

An elated Arshdeep quickly dialled his father Darshan Singh, who too is a fast bowler and was playing a local club match in Chandigarh, to share the big news. An emotional Darshan finished his quota of overs and brought sweets for everyone present on the ground.

“I was anticipating his selection in the Indian team. He has worked hard for this and should eye a debut against South Africa. He has been bowling pretty well in the last two years. I could not play at the highest level but I am grateful to God that my son will do it. I have been training him since he was a kid,” said Darshan, who played at the district level and is a security officer at a firm.

Made mark in IPL, Ranji

Arshdeep has been phenomenal in the last editions of IPL, playing for Punjab Kings. This earned him retention by the franchise for 4 crore for the present season. The left-arm pacer grabbed 10 wickets in 13 matches and bowled at a decent economy rate of 7.82. Also, his ability to nail yorkers at will — especially in death overs — brought him in the spotlight.

Standing tall at 6 feet and 2 inches, Arshdeep has not only been doing well with the white-ball in the shortest format but also while playing for Punjab in the Ranji Trophy. With 12 wickets in three matches, Arshdeep was pivotal in helping Punjab qualify for the quarter-finals.

“His rise has been at a great pace. He is definitely not a one-season wonder, but someone who will go places in the coming years. He has used his height well and worked hard on his skills. The fact that he did well for Punjab in the Ranji Trophy speaks about his graduation from U-19 to senior level. He can be a lethal bowler for India. He is a thinking bowler who bowls cleverly in the crucial overs, be it death overs or in the power play,” said VRV Singh, a former India fast bowler and now a coach.

However, Arshdeep will have to miss the Punjab vs Madhya Pradesh Ranji Trophy quarters tie now that he is in the India team.

Won U-19 WC in 2018

A member of India’s U-19 World Cup winning team in 2018, which was led by Prithvi Shaw and included Shubman Gill besides pacers Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi, the 23-year-old has made a steady progress. He was a net bowler in the limited-overs tour of Sri Lanka in 2021 and also part of a squad coached by Rahul Dravid with Paras Mhambrey (bowling).

It came as a surprise when Arshdeep was not picked by the selectors for India A tour to South Africa a few months ago.

“He took it in his stride and did well in the Ranji Trophy. It is very basic for Arshdeep. With every practice session, he improves. Punjab Kings have also shown great faith in Arshdeep’s abilities. He has been persisted with and he has made most of the environment. He is an all-format bowler and should be playing for India in the ODIs and the Tests soon,” said former Ranji Trophy cricketer Jaswant Rai, who has been coaching the lanky bowler for a decade.

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