Fast bowler Arshdeep Singh is the cynosure of all eyes in Kharar these days. Fans, friends and relatives have been queuing up in narrow lanes of the neighbourhood ever since he came home after the announcement of his maiden call-up to the India T20 team.
“My father has lived his dream through me,” said Arshdeep. “I want this to last quite long and play for India for years. The kind of training I have got since childhood, I have come to know that discipline is very important and you cannot be complacent at any point.
“I have worked hard on my skills and maintained consistency. I believe in constant learning and improving. I don’t think much about too many things at one time. I will aim to do well against South Africa in the T20s if given a chance and not think about ODI or Test team selection,” added the 23-year-old.
Arshdeep, who picked 10 wickets for Punjab Kings in 13 matches, at an average of 36.00 and an economy of 7.82 in the ongoing IPL, earned accolades for bowling well in the crucial slog overs. His yorkers in the death overs have been the highlight of his spells and have helped propel him into the Indian team.
“It is very important to have variations in modern-day cricket. My coach here in Chandigarh has been a guiding force. We have been practising bowling yorkers aggressively. And then have bowled yorkers in different situations keeping in mind a particular batsman. There is a long way to go and I want to learn more about fast bowling. I hope my journey is long and enjoyable. I have become a bit calm through meditation and it has helped me understand the game better,” added the quickie, who almost quit the sport when he was ignored by the Punjab Cricket Association during an U-19 tournament.
He could have gone to Canada like many other Punjabi youth to pursue higher studies and in search of good financial status. However, it was his brother Akashdeep Singh who decided to take the plunge and go to Canada and let Arshdeep focus on the game.
“The turning point in Arshdeep’s life when my son Akashdeep Singh, who also used to play cricket moved to Brampton in Canada a few years ago. He studied there and did odd jobs to send us money from there. This made us financially stable and Arshdeep could just focus on his cricket and not worry about other things. Waheguru has been very kind to us. I hope the years of effort me and my wife have put in to let Arshdeep chase his dreams works out well in the end and he has a long cricket career and makes India proud,” said his father, Darshan Singh.
During the last IPL too, Arshdeep was tremendous for Punjab Kings. As a result, he was made a net bowler for the India team during a tour in Sri Lanka with Rahul Dravid as coach.
“The time I spent in Sri Lanka as a net bowler when Rahul Dravid sir was the coach helped me look at things differently. I changed my action also after that stint which worked wonders. Rahul sir has been there since I started playing for India U-19 and I am excited that he will be there in the Indian team as coach too. Being around the best helps a lot. And when you are wearing the Indian jersey then you just want to give your best,” said Arshdeep, who was retained by the Punjab Kings for ?4 crore ahead of the ongoing season.
Coach Jaswant Rai, a former Himachal Ranji spinner, has been coaching Arshdeep for a decade now and he reserves high praise for his ward.
“Arshdeep is a quick learner. After the U-19 World Cup in 2018, he knew he had to work hard on his skill and fitness in order to reach the top. He has been bowling consistently at 140 Km per hour lately and his impact in the crucial overs like at the death or in the powerplay has been remarkable. I think second to Jasprit Bumrah in India, Arshdeep bowls smashing yorkers,” said Rai.