Excited Simi eager to meet Kohli, Dhoni

The all-rounder, who is part of the Ireland squad, has been friends with Siddharth Kaul and Yuzvendra Chahal since his early days. And that’s the reason why he is all the more excited to playing against India.

Simi Singh was selected in the Ireland national team last year and there has not been looking back since.   -  Twitter/Cricket Ireland

When Ireland takes on India in the first T20 next week, it will be an emotional roller-coaster for Simi Singh. After all, the Mohali boy will be donning the Irish colours and facing off against some of his ‘old friends’.

The all-rounder, who is part of the Ireland squad, has been friends with Siddharth Kaul and Yuzvendra Chahal since his early days. And that’s the reason why he is all the more excited to playing against India.

“I have known Siddharth (Kaul) for years. We have played together in Mohali. Chahal and I were in DAV College in Chandigarh. So, it is exciting to play against them,” Simi told Sportstar on Saturday.

After shifting to Ireland some fourteen years back, Simi, alias Simranjeet Singh, was selected in the Ireland national team last year and there has not been looking back since. Over the last one year, he has featured in seven ODIs and four T20s for Ireland.

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He wants to keep the momentum going against India too. “The target is to try and win the game and use the conditions. The whole team has been in UK and Ireland for a while (and is prepared). This is a big event and it will be a big boost for Ireland cricket,” Simi said.

Ever since childhood, Simi had aspired to play for India someday but that did not happen. Despite stints with Punjab at the U-14, U-17 and U-19 level, Simi suddenly found himself in a spot when he was dropped from the U-19 team. But hard work ensured that he featured in international cricket.

So, when he takes on Virat Kohli’s men, what would the target be on personal front?

“Whenever I bat, the target would be to put pressure on the bowlers. Before bowling, I want to study the batsmen. That’s why I will work with the video analyst,” he said.

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The 31-year-old also hopes to make the two-match series memorable. “I have grown up hoping to play for India. That was my ambition and now, I am playing against India. It is unbelievable, and emotions will run through when I take the field,” Simi added.

While he is looking forward to making it count on the field, Simi also has a wish - he wants to meet Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni and take some tips from the two.

He has also found a way to reach them. “I know Siddharth well, and I will ask him to introduce me to them. Hopefully that will help,” he said, adding: “Probably I will meet Kohli and Dhoni after the match. It is a big thing to be playing the same game with the two legends of the game.”

While he is considered an effective bowler in the shortest format of the game, Simi does not want to bowl to Rohit Sharma. The reason, however, is interesting.

“Rohit is my favourite batsman, so I am not looking forward to bowling to him,” he laughed.

When he came to Ireland years ago, as a student, Simi had almost given up on cricket. But days in this country made him fall in love with the game all over again.

Now years later, life would come a full circle for the Mohali boy when the ball gets rolling at the Malahide on Wednesday!