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Exclusive: KXIP pacer Arshdeep Singh relives his journey from U-19s to IPL

Arshdeep Singh, who joined KXIP for the base price of Rs 20 lakh in the auction, scalped the vital wickets of Jos Buttler and Ajinkya Rahane to guide his team to victory on debut.

cricket Updated: Apr 20, 2019 14:26 IST
Arshdeep Singh,Kings XI Punjab,KXIP
Kings XI Punjab bowler Arshdeep Singh bowls during the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match between Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali on April 16, 2019.(AFP)

20-year-old pacer Arshdeep Singh had a debut to remember for Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League (IPL) as he took two crucial wickets in his team’s 12-run win over Rajasthan Royals.

The youngster, who joined KXIP for the base price of Rs 20 lakh in the auction, scalped the vital wickets of Jos Buttler and Ajinkya Rahane to guide his team to victory. Although it was the first IPL match for Arshdeep, he did not crumble under pressure and his variations earned him a lot of praise.

When asked about his debut, the 19-year-old sounded extremely pleased with the experience and he revealed his game plan that helped him against the solid Rajasthan Royals batting line-up.

“The experience was brilliant as I was playing in front of the home crowd. I didn’t think much about how I am going to perform on my debut. My plan was to keep things simple and I just listened to what Ash (Ashwin) bhai and (Mike) Hesson sir told me to do,” Arshdeep told Hindustan Times.

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Arshdeep struck early in his spell as Buttler mistimed a slower delivery and Sanju Samson pulled off an easy catch to deal a major blow to Rajasthan Royals. The other wicket came in the penultimate over when he got Royals’ captain Ajinkya Rahane caught by Mohammed Shami at short third man.

“The first wicket is always special for a bowler and on top of that, it was the wicket of the in-form Jos Buttler. The wicket was important for the team as well and that was very special for me,” he said.

Earlier in the season, HT spoke to KXIP bowling coach Ryan Harris and he pointed out Arshdeep as one of the young talents to watch out for this season. This is the first time that Arshdeep is working with Harris and he believes that there are a lot of things to be learnt from the Aussie veteran.

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“It has been a pleasure to work with Ryan Harris. He was a very good fast bowler and I am trying to take tips from him on how to improve my own skills. My aim is to learn as much as I can from these experiences and hopefully, they will help me in becoming a better cricketer,” he said.

Earlier, Arshdeep took eight wickets in the second innings, including a hat-trick in the second innings for Punjab U-23 in the Col CK Nayudu Trophy. He also took three wickets in two matches at the 2018 U-19 World Cup and he said that working with Rahul Dravid was a huge learning experience.

“First, I played for the state team and then, I was selected for the U-19 World Cup. It was a great experience to learn from Rahul Dravid and I owe a lot to him. Then, while playing for Punjab, Mandeep paaji and Yuvraj paaji were like older brothers who taught me a lot,” he said.

In a tournament like the IPL, it is very easy for a young cricketer like Arshdeep to get star-struck considering the amount of international talent on display. But, the youngster is focused on his goal and when asked about his dream wicket, he was quick to come up with the answer.

“I haven’t thought much about any dream wicket. But, if I have to choose, it will be Virat Kohli.”

First Published: Apr 20, 2019 13:42 IST