Home IPL 2024 Arshdeep Singh is progressing in control with the ball

Arshdeep Singh is progressing in control with the ball

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Ahead of the 16th over of Ireland’s innings, Arshdeep Singh was recalled to bowl his final over. With impressive figures of 2 for 18 before that, he was expected to close out the innings effectively. However, he conceded 17 runs, allowing two fours, a six, and a no-ball—making it the most productive over for the Irish. It was a rare poor over from an Indian bowler on a pitch challenging for the batters, reports Live Cricket Score.

Arshdeep was similarly profligate in the fifth over of the innings, though not as costly. He bowled a 10-ball over, conceding 13 runs. On a treacherous pitch for the batters, especially early on, this 13-run over was against the run of play. Control was crucial, but the left-arm pacer struggled to maintain it.

“We did not want to be greedy for wickets. Jassi Bhai (Jasprit Bumrah) was there to keep me in control and remind me to keep things simple,” said Arshdeep, who finished with figures of 2 for 35, including two of the three most expensive overs in the Ireland innings. An objective look at those numbers reveals that the runs he conceded accounted for nearly 40 percent of Ireland’s total of 96. Despite Bumrah’s guidance, control was not his strong point in those two overs.

Swing upfront is Arshdeep’s strength. He relies heavily on rhythm, and if it’s even slightly off, things can go very wrong, as seen in that 10-ball over. He tried to bring the ball in but ended up bowling down the leg side for five runs. Attempting to correct this, he bowled in the opposite direction and conceded another wide.

This could indicate a lack of control, compounded by a faltering rhythm at that juncture. Arshdeep found himself releasing the ball too early or too late, disrupting his accuracy. Such waywardness often manifests during the deathovers, where he struggles to execute the Yorker. The root cause could be the lack of control and his constantly shifting release points, influenced by variations in his run-up speed and approach. These factors tend to intensify as the pressure mounts towards the end of a T20 match. However, in Wednesday’s relatively one-sided contest, where little pressure was exerted, Arshdeep’s off-colour finish undid some of the good work he had started.

Arshdeep was chosen over T Natarajan, who was immensely effective in the recent IPL, particularly during the death overs—a factor may have contributed to the SunRisers Hyderabad’s journey to the IPL final. Both bowlers claimed 19 wickets in 14 games during the 2024 IPL season, but Natarajan boasts superior figures in the death overs. He claimed 11 wickets in 20 overs with an economy rate of 9.5, compared to Arshdeep, who managed 10 wickets in 18 overs with an economy rate of 11, a significant differentiator in T20s.

There was a reason behind the preference for Arshdeep by the national selectors and team management: he excels at bowling the most challenging overs of an innings. While his ability to bring the ball back to right-handed batters is notable, insiders and members of the selection committee, both past and present, emphasize his exceptional courage on the field to bowl the most difficult overs. Coach Rahul Dravid, in particular, is said to be impressed by Arshdeep’s willingness to take responsibility for bowling the challenging overs—primarily the first six and last four.

Moreover, his unforgettable dismissal of Babar Azam during the last Twenty20 World Cup at the Melbourne Cricket Ground still resonates among Indian team members. It was a remarkable first delivery that saw the Pakistan skipper trapped on the crease by a swinging full-length ball. It marked a dream start.

When questioned about it on Wednesday, Arshdeep humbly stated that he wasn’t dwelling on the past. “At this stage, I am thinking of resting for a day. My family has come, and we will go sightseeing in New York. We will practice a day later and see what happens on June 9,” Arshdeep said.

As bigger challenges and high-pressure encounters await, India could use more of the Arshdeep who delivered in the powerplay rather than how he finished his spell.

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