“That’s typical bowling from a left-arm fast bowler that comes in after pitching away from the off stump. He [Arshdeep] said he worked with Zaheer Khan for three days. If he can swing the ball within three days, imagine the benefits he can provide to the Indian team if he spends some time with them. If such a player is not in the team, then the BCCI must look after him and make sure his talent doesn’t get wasted,” Sehwag said after 22-year old Arshdeep Singh bowled a lethal inswinger to dismiss Shubman Gill in the 45th IPL match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Punjab Kings.
The Punjab lad has delivered spectacular performances with the ball in hand for the Punjab Kings (PBKS) side in the second leg of the 2021 edition of the IPL. Arshdeep Singh has scalped 18 wickets in the twelve matches at an economy of 8.2 and an average of nineteen in the ongoing edition of the IPL.
The left-arm seamer was the best performer with the ball for the Punjab-based franchise. What he has done, of late, is for all to see. Arshdeep Singh has added a toe-crushing yorker and a sharp bouncer to his armoury.
Just the ingredients that make a fast bowler an apex predator on any territory.
The real test of Punjab lad was on 12th April when he was given the responsibility to defend 13 runs off the final over against Rajasthan Royal, with RR skipper Sanju Samson on the crease batting at 112 off 58 balls.
The task wasn’t easy as Samson had already smashed the Punjab bowlers and was growling like a lone lion on the field. But deep down Arshdeep knew what he needed to pick out of his armoury.
Let’s tickle the clock and look at what exactly happened in the final over of RR vs PBKS
19.1 Arshdeep Singh to Samson, no run.
19.2 Arshdeep Singh to Samson, 1 run.
IPL’s most expensive fish, Chris Morris, is on strike now!
19.3 Arshdeep Singh to Chris Morris, 1 run.
Samson is on strike now!
19.4 Arshdeep Singh to Samson, SIX! Yes, a huge six!
Imagine being 22 years old, defending 13 runs off the final over and you have been punched a huge six on the fourth ball of the over and the batsman you’re bowling against is Sanju Samson, who is batting at 119 and looking all set to finish it in his favour?
Squirming? That’s what one experienced in the aforementioned scenario.
Coming back to the fifth ball of the over, where Samson denied a single to their million-dollar player, Chris Morris. Maybe Samson wanted to finish it in his own way and didn’t want the South African to take a risk on the last ball.
4 needed off the last ball and Arshdeep Singh realised what he had got to bowl to keep the mouth of Samson shut and he successfully managed to keep him quiet with just one simple technique that still hasn’t got the answers from the many batters – yorker.
Samson was caught by Hooda at the boundary as Punjab Kings won by four runs.
And that’s how you prove yourself, right? What’s more satisfying for a 22-year old to live up to the team and captain’s expectations?
Well, that wasn’t just a one-match wonder, he has been impactful throughout the IPL. He has proved that he can bowl yorkers constantly and keep batsmen quiet. Even though his pace is not such high but his accuracy in terms of landing the yorkers is fantastic and that has made him a death over specialist for the Punjab based franchise.
Meanwhile, he also became the third-youngest to have clinched a fifer in IPL, his second-best achievement in the tournament. That too came against the same opposition, that is Rajasthan Royals in the second leg of the tournament.
The back-to-back impressive performances from the 22-year-old in the two consecutive seasons of IPL seem enough to give him a nod as a left-arm pacer in the national team.
Ever since Zaheer Khan bid adieu to international cricket, the Indian team has been exploring a quality left-arm seamer but failed to find a competent player with the right traits. Thangarasu Natarajan has been an impressive option but his constant injuries have been keeping him away from the game.
We have the World’s best seamers in our arsenal in the form of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar but when it comes to the left-hand bowling options, we still have to start from zero. Although we had tried several options in the past, they weren’t impressive enough at the highest level which is expected in International cricket.
But now we do have an option. Now just an option but a player who can deliver good results with his pace variations.
Changing the angles and binding the batters to make room credits Arshdeep Singh as one of the most lethal left-arm pacers. His wrist movements have improved too as you can’t reckon which one is going to be the slower one because he just rolls his fingers over the ball at the last movement and makes it difficult for the batter to read it.
Not just this, but the variety he offers in bowling can also benefit team India in home conditions. The upcoming series against New Zealand in India after the conclusion of the T20 World Cup will be the best occasion to test the Punjab bowler at the international level.
“Arshdeep Singh is a very fine bowler and if he continues to work hard and perform like this, he would surely make it to Team India someday,” said Virender Sehwag.
Now that even the ‘Nawab of Najafgarh’ has said it, perhaps its only fair to say that the lanky pacer has got a vital box ticked. But, the’s got the potential to perform national duties for India is now down to what selectors feel, the challenges that come along with breaking into the sport’s strongest side alongside England, and Arshdeep Singh’s own excellence that has already shone brightly for Kings XI Punjab and Punjab Kings in the two seasons he’s been in the IPL for.