How Arshdeep Singh ‘yorked’ his way into the Indian team


PTI, May 24, 2022, 3:46 PM IST

Credit: BCCI / IPL

Young-left arm pacer Arshdeep Singh says clarity of mind, attained through yoga and meditation, has helped him perfect the art of bowling yorkers, a rare ability that has pushed him into the Indian T20 side for the South Africa series.

The 23-year-old from Kharar humbly accepts the success that has come his way in the IPL but says he really had to ”earn everything”.

It may seem that landing yorkers, at will, comes naturally to the lanky fast bowler but he put in the extra work with his personal coach Jaswant Rai ahead of the IPL to hone his coveted skill.

Yoga and meditation have also helped him stay calm in high-pressure scenarios. ”It (meditation) clears the mind. When there is pressure, there is no substitute to clarity. Being able to stay calm surely helps in a big way,” Arshdeep told PTI.

Back at home after a gruelling couple of months in the IPL, Arshdeep is getting some much-needed rest at home but it won’t be long before he joins the Indian squad for the South Africa series beginning in Delhi on June 9.

He bowled more with the old ball than the new ball this IPL season with Punjab relying on him heavily in the slog overs. Only one of the two players to be retained by the franchise, Arshdeep repaid the faith by ending up with an economy rate of 7.31 in the death overs, the best among bowlers who bowled more than 10 overs in that critical phase.

”My role depended on team combination, matchups are a big thing in T20 cricket. I bowled with the new ball, in the middle as well as death. ”Whatever the team combination for a particular game was, the role changed accordingly. You have to be adaptable in this format.”

He ended with 10 wickets with an economy rate of 7.70 but it was his death over game that earned plaudits from the experts. The internet too raved as he got his yorkers right ball after all.

His coach Jaswant Rai feels that Arshdeep can learn a new skill in minutes when others take days and that was very much evident when he practiced yorkers before the IPL.

”I would place one shoe on the crease and one close to the stumps and at the time of delivery, I would tell him where to bowl the yorker.

”In a split second, he would make the adjustment and nail his yoker whether it was at the crease or at the stumps. We did that for 20 days before the IPL,” recalled Rai, a former Ranji cricketer himself.

Rai has been working with Arshdeep ever since he came to him as a 13-year-old. ”He would come with his mother who would ride the bicycle from Kharar to Chandigarh every day. There was a time when cycle broke down and he ended up walking that 12-km journey. It was then realized he will do something special,” the coach recalled fondly.

I don’t rate my performance at all, I am just doing my job

”Expecting nothing and be ready for everything,” Arshdeep swears by these words and that is how he is approaching his first series as an India cricketer.

He got the taste of life as an India cricketer when he travelled to Sri Lanka as a net bowler last year. That was the time he also got to work with Paras Mhambrey who straightened his run-up so that he could swing the ball better.

He had burst on the scene in the 2018 U-19 World Cup in New Zealand, where India won, but he did not get to play in all the games.

Talking about the rapid strides he has made in the last five years, he said, ”The journey has been satisfying. There were struggles.” ”Whenever I get the opportunity I try to enjoy and make the most of it. Whether I play or not, it is a team game. The team has to win. My focus is on giving my 100 percent before I go off to sleep every day.”

Besides Rai, Arshdeep also spoke highly of Punjab bowling coach Damien Wright.

He was arguably the best death overs in the IPL but Arshdeep makes a conscious effort to think about things that may put him under pressure. ”I am just happy to be in the Indian team. I don’t rate my performance at all. I am just doing my job. If I think about all those things then thoughts will come up and mind will get blurred.

”I feel I don’t need to change anything for the highest level. I just want to maintain my consistency,” Arshdeep signed off.

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