Former South African star Jonty Rhodes feels Arshdeep Singh has grown tremendously as a cricketer and has great potential but comparing him to the great Wasim Akram will put him under pressure. The 23-year-old left-arm India pacer was one of the positives of India’s T20 World Cup campaign that ended with a semifinal defeat to eventual champions England. Arshdeep, with his ability to swing the ball both ways ended up as the team’s leading wicket-taker, claiming 10 scalps from six games at an economy of 7.80.
“I think that’s putting him under a lot of pressure, to compare him to the great Wasim Akram, the sultan of swing,” Rhodes told reporters after he was announced as the mentor for ‘Samp Army’ globally.
“Arshdeep has certainly grown in the last two years and that’s been the case with the Indian fast bowlers. You look at a Bumrah and his progression was so so quick and Arshdeep has done the same, he is a young fast bowler, willing to learn and listen and he puts in the hard yards.
“He does swing the ball and has been a revelation at the death. He’s great in the powerplay, has got good control and he can come around the wicket like Wasim Akram effectively,” he added.
Rhodes, who worked with Arshdeep during his stint as IPL side Punjab Kings’ fielding coach, feels the youngster has great potential.
“He’s someone who has great potential and possibility of having a fantastic career. But you start to compare players to the ones who played before them, that puts them under unnecessary pressure. He wants to be the best Arshdeep Singh.” After disappointments in back-to-back T20 World Cups, the Indian team is expected to go undergo a transition with senior players making way for youngsters.
Asked who are some of the young players the BCCI should invest in, Rhodes said, “The current crop that is in New Zealand is a fairly young team and there are some great players in the line up.
“And because of the success of the IPL you certainly have an amazing platform to showcase their skill.” For India’s three-match T20I series in New Zealand, starting on Friday, the likes of Shubman Gill, Umran Malik, Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson have been given a chance as senior players have been rested.
“You look at the T20 squad selected just after the T20 World Cup, that gives a good indication of the ability of some of the players. It’s a strong line up without the senior players.” Rhodes said the English, Australian and South African players have benefitted massively from playing in the IPL.
“You spend a lot of time in India during the IPL format and even if the players are not playing all the matches, they are participating in conditions that was difficult for them before.
“They work and train with some of the best players and coaches in the world, that sort of experience helps grow their game just by asking questions.” Talking about the T10 format, the South African said it could be a good fit in multi-sport events such as the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games.
“T10 is a shorter, more exciting format than even the T20 game that takes three and a half hours. Maybe at competitions like the CWG or Olympics, we could see it, but the ICC at this stage with their FTP can fit in another format, they are struggling as it is.”