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Redemption on course for Arshdeep Singh

Last updated on 23 Apr 2023 | 01:07 AM
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Redemption on course for Arshdeep Singh

After a grim six months in T20 cricket, the left-arm seamer is slowly getting back to his best again

The social media is going viral with the pictures of the stumps broken by Arshdeep Singh. He shattered the middle-stump. Not once but twice on successive deliveries. 

That is quite a cool way to stamp your authority on the game. Arshdeep had sealed it for his team. He looked behind with his arms spread in celebration. 

When he began his final spell, Mumbai Indians required 40 off 18 balls. Suryakumar Yadav was going bonkers with a half-century scored at a strike-rate in excess of 200. Tim David, with a first 10-ball strike-rate of 164.7 in his IPL career, had just walked in. Mumbai were favorites. David carted Arshdeep’s first ball for a six in the 18th over.  

And that was the only poor delivery the left-arm seamer had on offer for the home side. He went on a yorker streak, mixing it with an occasional short ball. The 24-year-old nailed all of them in terms of low full tosses or slot balls which were impossible for batters to get under. Well, ask Tilak Varma and Nehal Wadhera. 

Before they could get under the ball, Arshdeep had gotten under their bat to break their middle-stump into two pieces.

The provision of LED in modern-day stumps means they are not entirely made out of woodwork. When Arshdeep cracked the middle-stump open, the hollowness within it was clearly visible. Arshdeep hit the hinge point on both deliveries where the stump cam was fixed.

However, more than the stumps breaking, it was the fact that Arshdeep hit the same spot on both occasions. The accuracy was the most delightful aspect of those two deliveries. 

There ain’t many bowlers who would go for an ‘only yorker’ strategy at the death. It is a high-risk plan. In recent times, Anrich Nortje bowled an ‘all yorker’ final over against Mumbai and almost got his team through. 

Arshdeep not only delivered two such overs in a high-pressure situation but also appeared unperturbed about it. The commentators mentioned how calm he is. 

Danny Morrison, in a post-match interview, asked him: “In those last two overs, your heart would not have gone above 120.”

"I guess Danny you should come next to me and feel the heartbeat; it's not even 120,” retorted Arshdeep.

This is the Arshdeep package that has elevated him to the Indian team. The ability to bowl yorkers with poise while leading the Punjab franchise’s death over fortunes at such a young age. 

11 bowlers bowled 30 overs or more at the death in IPL 2021 and IPL 2022 combined. Arshdeep had the second-best economy rate at 8.5 runs per over. He was second only to Jasprit Bumrah’s economy of 7.6 runs per over. 

Consequently, he had a promising start to his India career. In his first six T20Is, the left-armer pouched nine wickets at an economy of only 6.3. At the death overs, it reduced to 5.7. There was a natural presumption that India have found a partner for Bumrah to bowl in the last five overs. 

Then came the dreaded Asia Cup. India’s Plan A sheet in the build-up of their T20 World Cup campaign was shredded to pieces. Arshdeep was no exception. He developed some bad habits in his bowling. He bowled no-balls and started missing his yorkers, rendering himself ineffective at the death. 

He bowled 13 no-balls in 20 T20Is since the 2022 Asia Cup. In the 32 matches prior to that - six T20Is for India, 26 IPL games for Punjab - he had bowled only six no-balls. 

He developed an unwanted 19th-over syndrome. In the five games where he bowled the 19th over in T20Is since the 2022 Asia Cup, he leaked 80 runs. Something was off with Arshdeep and nobody was sure what it is. 

Now it looks like that period of confusion is over. His economy at death this IPL season is 8.7. He hasn’t bowled a single no-ball as yet. 

“Before IPL, I changed my run-up and it helped me with avoiding no-balls,” mentioned Arshdeep post-match. 

At Wankhede, the Arshdeep factor once again came to the fore. He is a priceless asset when in full flow. Add the left-arm seamer’s angle to all the good things mentioned above. 

In this particular game, the average run rate was 10.4. In such a high-scoring game that saw 25 sixes, Arshdeep delivered figures of 4-0-29-4. His four victims were Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma and Nehal Wadhera. No other fast bowler could maintain an economy of under 10 and Arshdeep went at only 7.25 runs per over. 

Defending 16 runs, his last over was the cheapest over of the game. Ironically, he broke two LED stumps, which is estimated around an expense of INR 20 lakhs. He is the Purple Cap holder at present, going one up on Mohammed Siraj who has 12 wickets. 

Alongside Punjab Kings, the team India management would want him to carry this form. He has set a good platform in the season and hopefully, has left that poor phase behind. The redemption has only started, it is not complete yet. 

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