Eminent hands in Swapnil’s success

The left-arm spinner owes a lot of his success to two of his mentors - Hashim Amla and R. Ashwin.

Swapnil Singh took five wickets for 58 runs in the first innings of the Duleep Trophy final.   -  B. Jothi Ramalingam

Learning the tricks of the trade from the some of the world’s best would remain a dream for many domestic cricketers but not for Swapnil Singh. Plying his trade for India Blue in the Duleep Trophy, the left-arm spinner owes a lot to two of his mentors — Hashim Amla and R. Ashwin.

“I am very close to Amla and I am very thankful to him for helping me out. I interact with him on a regular basis and he has helped me a lot with technique and attitude,” Swapnil said, on the sidelines of the Duleep Trophy Final at the NPR College Ground in Natham.

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Elaborating on what he had worked with Amla, Swapnil said, “He has always told me to trust my preparations. That is the key. He advised me to playing late, as that is the key in longer formats and taught me how to play the short balls. He instilled confidence in me and advised me to stay patient and the results are seen now,” Swapnil said.

Aiding accuracy

Swapnil got acquainted with India off-spinner Ashwin during his playing days in the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) divisional league matches. “I was playing for Nelson FC and we played a match against Ashwin’s team. After the match, I walked up to Ashwin and started a conversation. He said he was impressed with me and helped me with a couple of drills, especially with accuracy,” he explained.

Swapnil seemed to have put his learning to maximum use as he crafted a timely 69 in India Blue’s only innings. With the ball, he made India Red dance to his tunes by picking up a haul of 5 for 58 in 22 overs. The all-rounder had also featured among the top-10 batsmen in the Ranji Trophy last season.

‘All about keeping it simple’

Swapnil said the key to delivering is the trust in oneself. “If you see, even on this wicket (at NPR College, Natham), the key is to apply yourself in and hang on there. You have to trust your defence and technique. That is most important. This isn’t an unplayable wicket for the batsmen, it is not like you cannot score here,” he said.

The 27-year-old, who made his debut for Baroda as a 14-year-old in 2006, said the experience of playing in the domestic circuit for more than a decade has put him in good stead. “Here, it was all about keeping it simple. It is true that we had some assistance from the pitch but it was all about not experimenting much. I trusted my stock ball, kept a tight line and length and the results followed. Although the wicket was conducive to spin, it was about hitting the right chords,” Swapnil said.