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Arsh reality! From 'culprit' to head

Updated on: 05 December,2023 07:00 AM IST  |  Bangalore
R Kaushik |

Arshdeep Singh, who excelled for India in the 5th T20I against Australia on Sunday, feared being the villain after conceding 37 runs in his first three overs before saving 10 off the last six balls

Arsh reality! From 'culprit' to head

Arshdeep Singh during the fifth T20I against Australia at Bangalore on Sunday. Pic/AFP

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Arsh reality! From 'culprit' to head

It’s more than likely that, had Deepak Chahar been available, Arshdeep Singh would not have played Sunday’s final Twenty20 International against Australia. Chahar’s departure owing to a medical emergency opened the door for the left-arm seamer’s return to the playing XI, and for large parts of the dead rubber at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, the 24-year-old was on a hiding to nothing.

Also Read: New Zealand eye strong comeback against spirited Bangladesh in final Test

Struggling for control

His first three overs went for 37, among them four fours and two sixes, as he struggled for control. Australia took a heavy toll; Travis Head kicked off the visitors’ quest for 161 and a consolation victory with three successive fours off Arshdeep in the first over of the chase, while Ben McDermott smashed him for two sixes in his second spell.

Having suffered through the full toss, it was finally that same delivery that brought Arshdeep his first success of the night, McDermott caught by Rinku Singh running to his left from long-off to bring India back into the game. A tidy penultimate over from Mukesh Kumar left Arshdeep with 10 to defend. By his own admission, given how the evening had panned out for him, Arshdeep had nothing to lose.

The first ball of the final over was an event in itself. Matthew Wade, the marauding Australian captain, was incensed it wasn’t called a wide on height, the bouncer a conscious ploy after a chat between Arshdeep and skipper Suryakumar Yadav. A dot ball followed and then Wade holed out to long-on. 10 off three now, and three singles later, India were home and dry, by six runs. Arshdeep had redeemed himself, he had salvaged the night for his side.

“I was thinking I gave away too many runs and would be the culprit of the game,” a relieved Arshdeep beamed later. “But God gave me another chance and I believed in myself. Thanks to God that I defended it, and thanks to the staff as well who believed in me.”

Since his T20I debut 17 months back, Arshdeep has been a reasonable regular, with 58 wickets from 40 games. His strike-rate of 14.2 deliveries per wicket is special and his economy of 8.63 isn’t shabby, though in this five-match series dominated by the bat, he went at 10.68 per over and picked up just four wickets from as many outings.

Poor execution of yorkers

More than those numbers, Arshdeep will address why his execution of yorkers in particular left a lot to be desired. On a tacky Bangalore deck, he didn’t allow the pitch to be an ally, almost taking it out of the equation. 

Fortunately for him, it didn’t prove decisive in the end. Arshdeep’s next challenge is a three-match series in South Africa, starting this Sunday. In potentially more helpful conditions, he will aspire to take further steps to nail down his place in the squad for next June’s T20 World Cup in North America.

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