ODIs vs SA: Arshdeep Singh serves a timely notice with Man of the Series show

A 10-wicket haul from three games will help him press claims as a regular fourth seamer

Indian cricketer Arshdeep Singh (photo: BCCI)
Indian cricketer Arshdeep Singh (photo: BCCI)

Gautam Bhattacharyya

The hullabaloo over the IPL auction throughout the week somehow overshadowed a young India team’s 2-1 ODI series win over South Africa. A significant triumph, given the fact they were whipped 3-0 by the hosts in this format on their last tour of South Africa while it also threw up a number of heartening performances.  

The pick of the lot, however, was Man of the Series Arshdeep Singh – whose 10-wicket haul at 9.5 runs apiece in three matches made him pip the likes of South African opener Tony De Zorzi or debutant Sai Sudharshan, India’s topscorer in the series. The series may have given a new lease of life to the talented left-arm seamer from Punjab, who was never a serious contender in 50-overs format and also had been off the radar in the T20s in recent times - going at an economy rate of 10.8 in last eight T20Is.    

At 24 years, the youngster with a calm head on his shoulders already seems to have been around for quite some time. The reason is simple: Arshdeep, who, as a member of the 2018 Under-19 World Cup winning team which threw up the likes of Shubman Gill and Prithvi Shaw, caught the eyes on IPL debut for Punjab Kings back in 2019 and has grown in stature in a franchise notorious for their chopping and changing. 

The breakthrough in international cricket, however, came three years down the line in 2022 in a tour of West Indies, where he scalped seven wickets in five games for a Man of the Series award on debut. The performance paved the way for an Asia Cup berth in the UAE, where he stood out amid a forgettable campaign for India and earned a berth in the T20 World Cup Down Under. 

Despite travelling to Australia for the first time in his career, Arshdeep had a stellar beginning with a haul of 3/32 against Pakistan, which included the wickets of Babar Azam and Mohammed Rizwan. He ended the World T20 as India’s leading wicket taker with 10 wickets from six games in the absence of an injured Jasprit Bumrah – building on his ceredentials as a T20 expert with his mix of cutters, slower ones and yorkers. If there was one complaint about him which turned from a hero to villain in the mega event, it was his indiscipline with overstepping which cost India games against New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

Shrugging off a not-too-impressive campaign in the two T20Is available against Proteas, Arshdeep began the ODI series with a five-wicket haul during which he ran through South Africa’s top order in this first spell. In the second ODI, he returned decent of figures of 8-0-28-1 in a loss but his most crucial contribution of the series came in the decider. Arshdeep triggered South Africa’s downfall with a perfect yorker to trap the in-form de Zorzi in front of the stumps.  

Arshdeep finished with figures of 4/30 in the last game on Thursday but more importantly, he looked effective with both new and older ball. He emerged as a genuine wicket-taking option in the powerplay, attacking the stumps and getting some movement off the air with the white ball. Unlike T20s, ODIs probably give him the breathing space to settle into his rhythm as batters don’t often look to optimize the powerplay from ball one. 

After being labelled as a promising customer for a while, Arshdeep has now done his bit to leapfrog others to become India’s fourth seamer after the Shami-Bumrah-Siraj trio with the team management’s concern about the workload management. Time only will tell!

Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Google News, Instagram 

Join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines