India is home to more than 1.39 billion people. And, with that population comes immense scrutiny and trolls that can harm any career. 23-year-old Arshdeep Singh's nascent career was one such story, his one dropped catch saw an army of trolls coming after him.
Imagine you are working in a firm and one mistake of yours leads to tens of thousands, including armchair critics take to the social media to abuse you, your family and everyone associated with you. How would you feel then? It wasn't just that, some even went on to brand him as a traitor, some even took a dig against his traditions.
Good thing is that a lot of athletes don't care about social media. They know that their redemption lies in the transformation.
Since that drop against Pakistan, Arshdeep has come miles ahead of other bowlers. If you remove Suryakumar Yadav and Virat Kohli, he would definitely be the best performer in the Indian setup. If anything, that’s an understatement.
Arshdeep, an early jolt to the opposition
The best way to win a T20 clash is to maximize the powerplay – with the bat and the ball. Arshdeep has done exactly that, with the ball in hand. Prior to India’s clash against Zimbabwe, Irfan Pathan asked Arshdeep something pertinent about his success with the new nut.
“I have spent most time on watching videos on YouTube, and it has helped me a lot and I will keep doing it in the future. The main thing for me was consistency. At the international level, you know you can’t bowl loose balls. So, the focus is on bowling five to six good balls an over," Arshdeep said.
At the age of 23, that’s the level of clarity players desire. And, Arshdeep possesses every bit of it; he knows what exactly is needed to succeed at the highest level. So, his rapid rise wasn’t really a doubt. It was more of when rather than will he?
Cut to the ongoing T20 World Cup, the left-arm pacer leads a long list of pacers who have found success on the pacy tracks in Australia. But what has impressed everyone is how determined Arshdeep has been to strike early.
In five games thus far, the 23-year-old has struck five times in the powerplay. His first spell has always come as a clutch for the Men in Blue, with a staggering economy rate of just 6.3, making him one of the most threatening bowlers, with the ability to swing either way.
You know when someone becomes clutch?
When the captain isn’t one bit hesitant in throwing the ball to him in the toughest of situations. Thus far, Rohit Sharma has trusted Arshdeep, perhaps on the same level as he has trusted Jasprit Bumrah. That’s where top leaders are differentiated from the others.
"Arshdeep, when he came into the scene, we asked him to do the death overs for us. With Bumrah not there, it was a tough job for someone to take up. For a young guy to come and do that kind of a job is not easy, we've prepared him," Rohit said after India’s five-run win over Bangladesh.
What makes the left-arm pacer more special is his ability to close out innings. In the absence of Bumrah, India were looking at avenues where they could cut off the runs and seal the leaking tap during the death. And Arshdeep was the M-Seal.
20 runs needed off one over, Bangladesh had the opportunity to seal their first T20 World Cup win over India. It was right there. The equation was tough but with the slippery outfield, and a ball soaking more water than it can take, came an Arshdeep special. It was certainly tough, and landing yorkers in such conditions can backfire spectacularly.
But that’s where he stood out. In just the second delivery of the final over, he gets handed the ultimate lesson --- you make a mistake at the highest level, you get punished. Four deliveries, four yorkers and the crowd chanting his name, the left-arm pacer went from a villain to a hero in the eyes of the Indian fans.
If ever there was something called poetic, this would be that. Some might say, nah, that’s Bangladesh, you all are reading too much into it. Maybe, but have India had such success at the death in recent times?
Among Indian pacers with a minimum of 40 overs at the death since January 2021, Arshdeep is only behind Bhuvneshwar in terms of average. If economy rate is your concern, the left-arm pacer has been India’s best bowler since the start of the year.
On Sunday (November 6), he bowled just two overs. But in those two overs, he showed a skillset that is almost impossible to match. So much so that Ian Bishop on air, hailed Arshdeep and insisted that he is here to stay.
When someone of Bishop’s caliber praises your skillset with the new ball, and the ability to swing it either way, you graciously acknowledge. September 4, Arshdeep was on the wrong side of things, when he dropped Asif Ali in the crucial clash against arch-rivals Pakistan.
His coach Jaswant Rai stated that the pacer could not sleep the entire night. But two months later, Rohit and the entire Indian management could go to sleep knowing that Arshdeep has got their back.
India have Arshdeep Arshdeep has India covered.