The transition from franchise cricket to the international arena has been as smooth as his bowling action.
Just four matches old in his international career,Arshdeep Singh has already provided ample glimpses of his excellence in some of the most crunch situations of the game. The transition from franchise cricket to the international arena has been as smooth as his bowling action. On Tuesday night at Warner Park, while Surykumar Yadav’s blitzkrieg stole the limelight, Arshdeep’s contribution can’t be ignored. In fact, had it not been for Arshdeep choking the Windies batters in death overs, the road to victory would have been even more treacherous.
He came to bowl his third in the 18th over, when West Indies were well placed at 132/3, and two of their most dangerous batters, Shimron Hetmyer and Rovman Powell, were at the crease. Hetmyer has now developed into the master of last overs flourish, he uses his muscular build-up to stand still and whack the ball all around the park, while Powell feeds on spin and medium pacer.
But Arshdeep is no stranger to such junctures. He has consistently been thrown into the deep end by his franchise Punjab Kings, and more often than not, he has walked out victorious. Even in his fledgling international career, Arshdeep has managed to choke down the scoring rate with impeccable accuracy and shrewdness.
Both Hetmyer and Powell, itching to break free, tried hard but could only manage five singles off his penultimate over. Arshdeep just kept the length fuller to the batter, and varied his speed and line to keep the batters guessing. Hetmyer would have been back in the pavilion already had the bowler not spilled an easy return catch.
The next over, bowled by Avesh Khan, went for 17 runs. In the 20th over, Arshdeep missed two back-to-back yorkers, and both of them were drilled to the boundary by Powell. At this point, West Indies looked well on their way to a 170+ target. The margin for error is abysmally low for Arshdeep, who predominantly relies on yorkers to deceive the batters.
Having missed his best ball twice, Arshdeep now had a choice to make: to try something else or stick to his strength. It’s tempting for bowlers to change the length once he has been hit twice while attempting the same delivery. But Arshdeep stuck to the yorker length, and this time Rovman Powell could only manage as far as the long-off, where Deepak Hooda grabbed the catch.
In the next three balls, he conceded just one run to restrict West Indies to a below-par total. India then hunted it down with six balls remaining, thanks to a 44-ball 76 from Suryakumar Yadav.
Paras Mhambrey, the Indian bowling coach, lauded Arshdeep for his ability to deliver under pressure.
“I have been watching him for a long time, especially since the IPL. Something that really stood out was his ability to deliver under pressure,” Mhambrey stated. “If you look at how he goes about, he bowls (in) the first powerplay and also in the death. In terms of the composure he has shown (so far), it has been fantastic.”
In three matches he has played so far in West Indies, Arshdeep has given away just 33 runs in six overs and picked three wickets in death overs. After yesterday’s game, it is safe to say Arshdeep has leapfrogged Avesh Khan, who was yet again very expensive, in the pecking order for the T20I World Cup. With Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar already locked in for the fast bowling line-up, the third seamer is likely to be a toss-up between Harshal Patel or Arshdeep.
Featured Image Credit: Arshdeep Singh/Instagram