With two months left for the World Cup, there is plenty the Indian think tank needs to handle before finalising the 15-member squad. While some names are automatic picks, others will find themselves in a spot – especially the fast bowlers. At present, there is no shortage of pace options for India. The returning Jasprit Bumrah, the ever-so-reliable Mohammed Shami and India’s new limited-overs sensation Mohammed Siraj are certain in India’s Playing XI, there is stiff competition from the likes of Shardul Thakur, Arshdeep Singh and Umran Malik. The situation becomes a bit tricker knowing Hardik Pandya too can chip in with overs. Too many names, very few slots.
The Praise from Wasim Akram
Among the aforementioned names, the one quick who has impressed the one and only Wasim Akram is Arshdeep. For years, India have longed for a left-armer who could go the distance, and in Arshdeep, the search seems to have ended. Arshdeep has been a revelation for India in T20Is, and even though he is just three ODIs old, Akram reckons the 24-year-old is a superstar in the making for India.
“I saw him. He has a future. I said it during last year’s Asia Cup as well that he should play long. He has the swing but pace-wise, he needs to play more First-Class cricket to increase his speed. He is young and I like the way he bowls. He is a wicket-taker. The more he plays, the muscles will grow and he will be able to generate more pace,” Akram said on Radio Haanji.
How Arshdeep has fared in his young career
Widely considered the greatest left-arm quick of all time, Akram’s piece of advice is something Arshdeep can really do with. Last year during the Asia Cup, when Arshdeep was trolled endlessly for dropping a catch against Pakistan, Akram was one of the very first to come to the youngster’s defense. As a result, Arshdeep came out of that setback stronger and wiser, becoming Rohit Sharma and India’s go-to bowler in death overs at the T20 World Cup. From 26 T20Is, Arshdeep has grabbed 41 wickets with a best of 4/37. Although Arshdeep has a slight problem of no-balls with his tendency to overstep a bit too much for his liking, it’s not a chink he can’t get rid of.
Arshdeep’s Success in the IPL and County Cricket
India have trusted Arshdeep with the difficult overs – with the new ball and in the fag end of the innings – with the young pacer responding brilliantly by showing the temperament to cope with the harsh reality of bleeding runs. Arshdeep was in red-hot form during the IPL too, picking up 17 wickets for Punjab Kings with a best of 4/29 – not to forget the two stumps which he broke in half. Arshdeep’s stocks have been on the up, so much so that County giants Kent signed up the left-arm pacer for their upcoming season. In five games, Arshdeep scalped 13 wickets.
Upcoming Challenges for Arshdeep
Arshdeep is set to roar for India again in the five T20Is against West Indies starting later today. He, along with Umran, Avesh Khan and Mukesh Kumar is expected to pose a threat to the capable Windies line-up as they bank on their most successful and reliable format of late to pip the Indians after enduring defeats in Test and ODI series.
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