With 16 wickets in 11 matches in IPL 2021 so far, Arshdeep is the second-highest wicket-taker for Punjab Kings, behind Mohammed Shami who has 18 wickets under his belt so far. The 22-year-old Arshdeep has taken a leaf or two out of Shami’s book. He is currently fifth on the highest wicket-takers’ list for this season so far, behind Harshal Patel (26 wickets), Avesh Khan (21 wickets), Mohammed Shami (18 wickets) and Jasprit Bumrah (17 wickets).
Punjab Kings, after losing to Royal Challengers Bangalore by 6 runs on Sunday, are currently fifth on the points table. They have one league game left to play. Punjab Kings, Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals are all sitting on 10 points. MI and RR, though, have two league games left to play. Kolkata Knight Riders are at fourth spot with 12 points and also have one league game to play.
A defeat at the hands of RCB meant KL Rahul‘s men are skating on thin ice. They will be taking on Chennai Super Kings in their last league game and would desperately need a big margin win to boost their run-rate. They would also need KKR to lose their remaining game badly.
TimesofIndia.com had caught up with Punjab Kings’ pacer Arshdeep ahead of phase 2 of IPL 2021 to talk about the team’s chances, sharing the dressing room with Universe Boss Chris Gayle, learning from Mohammed Shami and more.
What is the dressing room atmosphere like with players like KL Rahul and Chris Gayle?
With the Boss and other Punjabi guys, it is mostly fun and we laugh and dance a lot.
You have been brilliant when it comes to the death overs. How do you practice for this?
I enjoy bowling in the death overs. I have worked on that aspect with my coach Jaswant Rai. I practice with a cone placed at one end of the pitch. I try to hit there bowling with the new balls, use cutters in the middle overs and then finishing with some yorkers.
Shami is a senior professional in the team. What has the experience of learning from him been like? What tips did he give you, especially while bowling in crucial and pressure moments?
Having Shami bhai in the team is a really big advantage. He has told me to keep things simple. He said, ‘everyone tells you to do this, do that. You have got good skills and you just have to back yourself’.
What has been the experience of playing alongside allrounder Shahrukh Khan been like? Can you share any light hearted moments you shared with him?
Mostly, I have been bowling to him and he is smashing the ball all around the ground. There hasn’t been any light hearted moment between us yet (laughs), but I try to have some fun with him.
You were included as a net bowler for the Sri Lanka tour and later added to the T20I squad. What was the experience of playing under coach Rahul Dravid like? He was your coach during the Under-19 World Cup as well. What tips did he give you on the tour?
With Rahul sir, it’s very comfortable, because I worked under him at Under-19 level. There is a really good understanding between us. I always try to take some tips from him. The way he thinks about the game, he is really sharp. He is really a good reader of the game. We all try to learn as much as we can from him. Regarding bowling, I have spoken with him. He said – you are doing really well and keep repeating your (good) performances from game to game. Just keep doing your work. He said we are tracking you and you are doing pretty good, keep performing well.
When the IPL was postponed due to some Covid-19 cases, Punjab Kings ensured every single player and support staff reached their homes safely. How challenging was it for you to deal with that situation? What guidelines were given to you and other players by the management?
The management handled the situation very well. We flew back to our homes on chartered flights and then taxis were already booked for us. Overall, things were pretty secure. Even the drivers had negative RT PCR tests so we were feeling pretty safe in that atmosphere. The management did pretty well there.