Kings XI Punjab seamer Arshdeep Singh, who starred in IPL 2020 picking 9 wickets, has revealed that his long-term goal is to become a successful red-ball bowler and help Punjab win the Ranji Trophy. Arshdeep further credited ‘mentor’ Mohammad Shami for teaching him to handle pressure efficiently.
The Indian Premier League is known for its tendency to churn out names and talents who fans otherwise wouldn’t have known and one of the biggest success stories this season was Punjab’s Arshdeep Singh. The 21-year-old left-arm seamer was an integral part of KXIP’s mid-season surge and he became a trusted entity of KL Rahul, who, with confidence, threw the ball to the youngster at crucial junctures. Arshdeep, more often than not, delivered, and he did so through his yorkers, cutters and intelligent use of angles, which outfoxed a ton of batsmen.
But despite boasting all skills required to be a quality white-ball bowler, it is the red-ball in which Arshdeep has set his sights on. Speaking to ESPNCricinfo, Arshdeep revealed that his ultimate goal is to become a successful red-ball bowler and take Punjab to the knockouts of the Ranji Trophy in the future.
"I want to be successful in red-ball cricket, and take Punjab to the Ranji Trophy knockouts first," Arshdeep told ESPN Cricinfo.
"I don't know when we last even won, so I want to be part of history. Take them to the knockouts and once there, maybe even a Ranji title. In white-ball cricket, I want to be consistent and be a dependable bowler."
In his stint with Kings XI Punjab, Arshdeep had the golden opportunity to work alongside the ever-so-skillful Mohammad Shami, who is currently at the peak of his powers. Shami, who claimed 20 wickets in IPL 2020, often set-up matches for young Arshdeep, who thrived in the presence of the skillful veteran. The 21-year-old was full of praise for ‘Shami bhai’, who he revealed walked him through pressure situations, giving invaluable advice at just the right moments.
"Shami bhai is a world-class bowler, and has a lot of experience that he is willing to pass on to the youngsters," Arshdeep said.
"Things like 'How do you think when you're under the pump?' He told me my skill sets are good. He stressed on the need to back yourself under pressure and be mentally strong. He wanted me to work on my seam position, which he felt I could improve.
"I still remember, in the game against Mumbai Indians, I was bowling the last over and Kieron Pollard hit me for two sixes. After that, he chatted with me and asked me to just back my execution and bowl my best ball, without looking at who the batsman was. He said, even if it went for sixes, it shouldn't matter."
Succeeding on the first attempt is one thing, but what’s tougher is sustaining success at the top level over a long period of time. For that, it is imperative for cricketers to keep honing their skills and Arshdeep, who understands the same, revealed that he has been working on his arm-speed in order to add a few more clicks to his bowling.
"I'm working with my coach Jaswant Rai, looking to increase my pace.I'm working on developing my arm speed and getting better rhythm in my run-up to help my consistency. I took a week off after the IPL, but since then, I've returned to training, trying to work up pace off a shorter run-up than what I've been used to.
“That is something Shami bhai too said I could do if I made a few tweaks. So yes, generating faster arm-speed is something I am consciously working on."