In India’s first encounter in the World Cup, Arshdeep bowled the game wide open with the wicket of Babar Azam on his very first ball and then followed up with another incredible spell to finish with figures of 3/32. He has been doing this consistently since his India debut in April and has majorly filled the void left by Jasprit Bumrah.
The most impressive aspect about Arshdeep’s performance is the way he has adapted to the demands of T20 bowling, without being overwhelmed by the occasion. His powerplay average of 19.6 is likened by his death bowling average of 15.8 for India and that eased out the concern raised due to Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s poor form in the death overs.
Anil Kumble, who coached the speedster at Punjab Kings for three years, has wonderful things to say about the youngster and likened him to the impact that Zaheer Khan had on the Indian team.
"I was really impressed with Arshdeep, how he's come through," Kumble told ESPNcricinfo. "I worked with him for three years and I could see the kind of development that he has had in the T20 format, and last year's IPL was a classic example of how he handled the pressure.
"He perhaps bowled the tough overs for the team and yeah, you don't always look at the wickets column in the T20 game, you look at what moments the bowler comes up with. And the temperament that he's shown, it's wonderful. We saw that again in the India-Pakistan game. When you have 90,000 people at the MCG, it's always challenging. So yes, Arshdeep has certainly matured and I'd like to see him carry on. Probably what Zak did for India, I expect Arshdeep to go on to do some wonderful things for India."
India may well need a finisher after the T20 World Cup, with Dinesh Karthik currently doing the role. With Rishabh Pant not impressing the team management, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the selectors look at impressive IPL performers for the role. Kumble backs Punjab Kings’ Jitesh Sharma for the role.
"Jitesh is someone I rate really, really highly," Kumble said. "He's a wonderful cricketer. He's very mature. He has done all the hard yards in domestic cricket. He can hit the ball, not just off the spinners but off the fast bowlers as well. He is someone who can hit off the back foot and he is someone who I think can do that finisher's role for India. If not now, he should be looked at post this World Cup when the selectors sit down to look at the next lot of cricketers, I'm sure Jitesh's name will already be there.
"He does a finisher's role. My take on T20 cricket is about specific roles that they play for their teams. And Jitesh, I know he started off as an opener, but he's currently in a finisher's role. He bats at No. 5-No. 6. And that's the kind of thing you need to do. If you look at stats, then you'll pick up the top two batters which are generally the openers or No. 3. They end up getting all the numbers in T20 cricket, but Jitesh, in his role has done exceptionally well."