In a rain-hit encounter in Dublin on Friday, India clinched a narrow 2-run victory (DLS method) over Ireland in the first T20I, taking a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. The spotlight was firmly on Jasprit Bumrah, who marked his return after an 11-month hiatus by captaining the side following his recovery from a back injury. Bumrah’s comeback was nothing short of spectacular, as he immediately made his presence felt, clinching two wickets in his very first over.
Joining the comeback wagon was Prasidh Krishna as well, who also returned to international cricket after a considerable spell on the sidelines due to injury. His return was marked by a standout performance, as he secured two crucial wickets that bolstered India’s cause. However, one of India’s seasoned T20 pacers, Arshdeep Singh, grappled with an inconsistent outing again during the opening T20I. Conceding 35 runs in his four overs, Arshdeep registered the highest economy rate amongst the Indian bowlers in the match, securing one wicket.
This underwhelming performance spurred former India selector Saba Karim to voice criticism against Arshdeep’s showing. The young pacer’s inconsistent outings over the past few months have raised concerns, and his costly performance on Friday only fueled the scrutiny. Saba stated that Arshdeep has lost his ability to move the delivery into the right-hander, and also namedropped some of the leading left-arm pacers – Shaheen Afridi and Mitchell Starc – in his argument.
“One matter of concern for me is Arshdeep Singh. He had an up-and-down series against West Indies. Here also, I just feel that as a left-arm seamer, it’s very important for the ball to come into the right-hander, especially with new ball. Whatever I’ve seen in the past, especially with the West Indies series, he’s not able to do that,” said Saba on JioCinema after the rain delay.
“The reason why Shaheen Afridi or Mitchell Starc are so important for their respective teams is that their ability to pick wickets with new ball and bend the ball back into right-hander. Somehow, in last one season, he has lost that sting in his repertoire. I hope the bowling coach works really hard with Arshdeep to generate that swing in his delivery, because that adds to your ability to pick wickets on the new ball.”
Arshdeep a ‘regular’
Saba further mentioned that it’s important Arshdeep reworks on his swing, as he’s one of India’s regulars in T20Is and will also likely be a part of the T20 World Cup, scheduled to take place next year in the West Indies and the United States.
“He’s relying on his variation, he’s bowling short of length. That’s not his length at all. It is up and get it into the right hander. We are looking at him as a regular T20 bowler, he is also picked for the Asian Games,” said the former India selector.