Mohali boy finds spot in Ireland squad for India T20s

A bowling all-rounder, Simranjeet Singh's childhood days were spent playing cricket at the PCA Stadium in Mohali.

Simi Singh has been named in the Ireland squad for the two T20Is against India on June 27 and 29.   -  Cricket Ireland

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.

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