Perhaps, life will come a full circle for Simranjeet Singh when Ireland takes on India in a T20 series in Dublin next week. The 31-year-old bowling all-rounder from Mohali, who made it to the Ireland side last year, has been included in the Ireland squad for the matches against India.
And that would certainly excite Simranjit — or as the Irish call him, Simi!
While growing up in Mohali, Simi’s childhood days would start at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, playing cricket. “I lived close by, and every day I would make it a point to visit the stadium to play. That’s how it all started,” Simi had told Sportstar during a chat earlier.
Read: Joshua Little picked in Irish squad for India T20Is
After representing Punjab at the U-14, U-17 and U-19 levels, Simi suddenly found himself in a spot when he was dropped from the U-19 team. That’s when his close friend Gaurav, who was then living in Ireland, proposed the idea of Simi settling down in Dublin and continuing playing cricket. “That time, I thought the career had hit a road-block and I had to take a decision,” he had said, about his move to shift base.
Even though he came to Ireland as a student, his only target was to play cricket. After all, that’s what he loved doing. While playing for Punjab junior side, Simi was team-mates with Gurkeerat Singh Mann and Manpreet Gony.
He was roped in by Malahide Cricket Club and Simi was briefly back in India in 2009 to be a part of the selection trial programme for the Kings XI Punjab. “I tried hard, but was not picked,” he said.
After returning to Ireland, he was approached by second-division side Old Belvedre Cricket Club. That’s how he started playing serious cricket in Ireland. Things changed thereafter.
Before being picked by the Ireland A squad a couple of years back, Simi was associated with the YMCA as a player-cum-coach. “I would teach the youngsters how to tackle situations, and teach them a bit of spin bowling and batting,” he had said.
There’s also a catch here.
While he played as a top-order batsman in Punjab, Simi focused on spin bowling ever since moving to Ireland, and now, he has been named in the side as a bowling all-rounder. “After coming to Ireland, I discovered that here batsmen have problems against spin. There was a dearth of spinners, and that’s why I developed my spin bowling,” he said.
In the last one year, he has featured in seven ODIs and four T20s for Ireland. And the call-up against India would definitely motivate him.
After all, he always had a secret wish. “I want to play for Ireland against India,” Simi had said. Well, wishes do come true.