On Tuesday evening, Darshan Singh was eagerly waiting for his son Arshdeep Singh at their Kharar home. Twenty-year-old pacer Arshdeep Singh, who was playing in a practice match for Punjab against Uttar Pradesh at PCA Stadium, Mohali, had been retained by Indian Premier League (IPL) side Punjab Kings for a sum of Rs 4 crore and it was a moment to remember for the proud father.
While Singh had been picked up at his base price of Rs 20 lakh by the then Kings XI Punjab in the 2019 IPL auction, the youngster became only the fourth uncapped Indian player to be retained by any IPL franchise in this year’s retention list ahead of the mega auction later this month and Darshan Singh remembered the days of Arshdeep travelling by bus or cycle to Chandigarh in his younger days.
“Playing cricket has been Arshdeep’s passion since he started playing and we have always supported his dream. To see him being retained by Punjab Kings out of much more experienced players is the reward of all the hard work by Arshdeep. While I was posted in CISF earlier, my wife Baljeet Kaur would support a young Arshdeep. He would travel in bus or cycle sometimes from Kharar to Chandigarh to train under Jaswat Rai sir and being retained for such a huge amount of Rs four crore is his reward. He shared this news with his mother, who has gone to Canada to meet his elder brother Akashdeep Singh and it was an emotional moment for both of them. He plans to build a new home for the family with this money ,” said Darshan Singh, who retired as an inspector from CISF and now works as a security head with Groz Beckert Asia in Industrial Area, Chandigarh.
— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) November 30, 2021
While Arshdeep had started playing cricket at the age of nine at a Sector 19 Academy in Chandigarh, it was not until starting training under coach Jaswant Rai at sector 36, Chandigarh that the youngster started the sport seriously. While he would initially play in Haryana U-14 sides, he would soon get his chance in Punajb U-16 and U-17 teams before playing for the Indian U-19 team in the Youth Asia Cup in 2017 followed by the ICC U-19 World Cup in 2018. Singh, who was picked up by the then Kings XI Punjab in the 2019 IPL Auction on the insistence of head coach Mike Hesson, played in two matches in the 2019 IPL making his debut against Rajasthan Royals.
Last year, Singh would emerge as the fourth-highest wicket-taker for Kings XI Punjab with nine wickets in IPL before he claimed 18 wickets in 12 wickets in this year’s IPL for the renamed Punjab Kings to be the second highest wicket-taker for the team. Earlier this year, Singh was also picked among the net bowlers for the Indian tour to Sri Lanka. “I started with tennis ball cricket and nobody bowls spin in tennis ball cricket. So I opted for medium pacer. In the initial days at the academy, I would not get seat in the CTU bus with my kit and I would cycle for more than 15 kms from my home to the academy. I remember watching Irfan Pathan taking the hat-trick against Pakistan on TV and I started idolising him apart from Wasim Akram sir. Both of them are left-handers and the way both swung the ball and bowled yorkers, it is itched in my mind,” Singh had told The Indian Express in 2019.
Singh was retained by the Punjab Kings side along with Indian batsman Mayank Aggarwal and the six feet and three inches tall pacer showed his excitement over playing for his ‘home’ side in next year’s IPL and not going into auction list. “I am from Punjab and to get a chance to be retained by Punjab side feels special. It feels nice to play for the home team and at the home ground. It felt great and I am very happy,” said Arshdeep.