After Punjab Kings won that match, by 5 wickets, the team came back to the dressing room and celebrated Arshdeep’s success. The 23-year-old from Guna in Madhya Pradesh went wicketless in that match, but was again very economical, giving away just 25 runs in his 4 overs. He had done enough to impress the selectors overall. This is his fourth IPL season and he has taken 40 wickets overall in 37 matches and has a strike rate of 18.93.
Arshdeep’s ability to bowl wide yorkers, targeting the block-hole, and not giving away too many runs, earned him an India call up and a place in the squad for the home series against South Africa next month. India are scheduled to play a five-match T20I series against South Africa, starting June 9.
TimesofIndia.com caught up with Arshdeep, who signed off IPL 2022 with 10 wickets in 14 matches at an economy rate of 7.70, to talk about his maiden India call-up, sharing the ball with South African star pacer Kagiso Rabada, on being tagged as a death-overs specialist, playing under KL Rahul and much more.
Arshdeep Singh (Image credit: BCCI/IPL)
You were earlier picked as a net bowler for the Indian team (vs Sri Lanka) and have now got a maiden India call-up…
I am really happy and grateful that I have got a chance to represent my country. This happiness can’t be expressed in words. I am looking forward to learning and winning the series for my team. I was getting ready for the match (vs Sunrisers Hyderabad) when I got the message and call from the team management that I have been picked in the India squad. I was happy but I shifted my focus towards the match. After the match we all celebrated. My family is overjoyed. They celebrated my call up. I was selected as a net bowler earlier and it was a learning curve for me. I worked on my bowling and didn’t lose hope. I always lived that dream (of getting an India call-up) and I am happy that it has come true.
India are scheduled to play a five-match T20I series against South Africa. How easy or difficult is this assignment going to be for India?
South Africa are a very competitive team. If I get an opportunity, I will go and give my 100 percent. I want to win matches for my team. I am sure we will win the series.
You are tagged as a death overs specialist. How does that make you feel? Is there added pressure because of your ability to bowl yorkers and keep batsmen in check due to which you are asked to bowl in the crucial death overs ?
I keep bowling a particular delivery number of times in net sessions. The more you practice, the better you become. This is a mantra I follow. I bowl that delivery till I am a hundred percent sure that I have perfected it. Repetition helps me a lot during the practice sessions. I want to prepare myself for every situation, condition, and circumstance. I love to plan against a batsman. I plan beforehand in terms of bowling a particular delivery to a batsman and also the field placement.
What was it like sharing the ball with Kagiso Rabada?
Kagiso is a kind and humble guy. One can approach him and talk to him at any point of time. He is so welcoming. He loves to solve problems. Despite having a lot of international experience and playing for IPL franchises, he is down to earth, humble, welcoming, and approachable. I have learnt a lot from him. It feels great to share the ball and dressing room with him. Rabada and I revisit team bowling plans. We are on the same page during a match. We discuss the plans of setting a field and bowling specific deliveries to a batsman. We discuss the pitch also ahead of a match.
I have asked him about frame of mind. I asked him how to plan when a match is slipping away from the team’s hands. He discussed his international experience with me. I got to learn a number of things from him.
Arshdeep Singh and Kagiso Rabada (Image credit: BCCI/IPL)
You will now potentially be up against Kagiso Rabada as an opponent in the series vs SA…
He told me consistency plays a key role at the international level. I want to work on that. I want to be consistent with my performances. I want to be an all-situation and all-format bowler for my team. Whenever I step on to the field, I want to give more than 100 percent.
You have played under KL Rahul at Punjab Kings. He will be your India captain now in the T20I series vs SA…
I am looking forward to playing under him (KL Rahul) once again. I played under his leadership in the IPL. I learned a lot from him and would love to continue that.
Arshdeep Singh (Image credit: BCCI/IPL)
What went wrong for Punjab Kings this season?
We played an exciting and aggressive brand of cricket. There were a couple of occasions when we couldn’t finish the game properly but I am sure this side will come back stronger next season. It depends on the day as well. The T20 format is fickle.
What does Arshdeep do when he is not playing cricket?
I sleep a lot (laughs). I love to write down my thoughts. Whenever a thought comes to my mind, while traveling, or in a hotel room, I just take out my diary and pen down that thought. I have named my diary ‘Dear Diary’. Sometimes I write two liners, four liners, and sometimes a page. It depends on the situation. It helps me a lot.