Frustrated that his cricket career was going nowhere, 18-year-old Simranjit Singh, aka Simi Singh, of Mohali, Punjab, packed his bags for Ireland in 2005 to become a hotel manager.
Very little of Simi knew that fate had more in store for him, as cricket followed him to Ireland as well. He learned that he could continue his cricket and his studies simultaneously. So, in 2006, he joined the Malahide Cricket Club in Dublin as a professional.
Cut to the present; life has come full circle for the Mohali-born cricketer. He marked his first international century against South Africa on the same ground where his Irish cricket journey began.
“It was really an emotional blow. After I finished my century, at that point, I saw my whole journey in a flashback. Marking a century on this ground, where it all began, will stay with me forever, ”Simi Singh told IndiaToday.In from Dublin.
“The most satisfying thing about the coup is that it came against Nortje (Anrich), Shamsi (Tabraiz) and Maharaj (Keshav), a leading South African attack. On top of that, my strike rate was also good, ”Singh added.
Interestingly, one of Simi’s Irish teammates, Harry Tector, was his pupil when he coached at YMCA Cricket Club in Dublin.
“Harry was 12 when he joined the YMCA Cricket Club academy. I was his trainer, then I gave him his first cap. It’s been quite a journey, ”Singh said.
The scoring man
Simi Singh scored an unbeaten 100 against South Africa in the third ODI at Malahide Cricket Club in Dublin. However, Simi’s effort was not enough as South Africa outscored Ireland by 70 points to end the series 1-1.
However, Simi Singh made a record by becoming the first cricketer to score an ODI century at bat at No.8 or less. He passed England’s Sam Curran, who scored a valiant 95 against India in Pune earlier this year.
South Africa wins 3rd ODI in Malahide
Simi Singh’s first century ODI, the highest ODI score ever for a No.8, turns out to be a wasted effort as the series is tied 1-1.
– ICC (@ICC) July 16, 2021
Simi has played 30 ODIs and 24 T20Is for Ireland since making his international debut in 2017 against New Zealand.
Earlier this year, in February against the United Arab Emirates, Simi set another world record. The all-rounder marked a quick 54 steps and then delivered one of the most economical five-window transports in ODI history. Simi’s 5 for 10 was the fifth most economical five-gate transport in ODI history. The top four on the list are – Courtney Walsh of the West Indies (5 for 1 against Sri Lanka in 1986), the Indian duo of Sunil Joshi (5 for 6 against South Africa in 1999) and Stuart Binny (6 for 4 against Bangladesh in 2014), followed by Sri Lankan Muttiah Muralidharan (5 for 9 against New Zealand in 2002).
Simi Singh, the drummer
Simi, who successfully represented Punjab at the U-14 and U-17 levels, was known for his stick. In 2004, he scored 725 runs in the state U-17 inter-district championship. He was even named best player at the 46th National School Games held in Vijayawada in 2001.
Despite being a consistent performer, Simi failed to qualify at the U-19 level for Punjab.
Simi Singh celebrates after making her mark (Courtesy: Cricket Ireland)
Before Thursday, Simi had only half a century each in ODI and T20I cricket. He was on the team for his off-spin bowling. Interestingly, in his early days he was a part-time bowler.
“I started to give myself more time. For example, when I got to the third ODI level we were 92 for 6. So I took my time getting settled in and then started playing my natural game, ”Singh said.
After his brilliant innings, Simi hopes that in the T20I series against South Africa, starting July 19, the team management will promote him a little higher.
“I hope I can hit a bit higher in the coming games,” he said.
From Mohali to Dublin
It was not entirely irresistible for him in Ireland. With strict residency rules in place, Simi’s Level 2 ECB Coaching Diploma and being a certified personal trainer have helped him stay afloat in Ireland.
Juggling work and cricket, Simi even worked in a grocery store so that she could afford to pay to play cricket, because playing every weekend at Malahide Cricket Club; you had to pay five euros per game.
“When I look back it inspires me to excel more. These are the days that I still cherish the most, ”recalls Simi.
For over 12 years, Simi worked hard, racked up races and took wickets in Irish domestic cricket until he obtained Irish citizenship in May 2017 and became eligible to play for Ireland.
Simi, who started bowling after seeing Saqlain Mushtaq’s videos, won 56 wickets in the Leinster Senior Cup, the premier league tournament in Ireland – for the club in 2013. He also scored 786 points in the club title. to win.
On Irish cricket
The Irish cricket team have always struck above their weight. They were never child’s play. Whether it was their historic World Cup triumphs over Pakistan in 2007 and their big rival England in the 2011 edition, or more recently, they beat South Africa by 43 points in the second ODI.
However, Ireland lacked consistency. But Simi believes the current crop of Irish cricketers will be more successful, and he has pointed out a few reasons to support his argument.
“Our level of commissioning has increased. In the ODI series, we even aligned better than South Africa. The emphasis is more on physical fitness.
“We play against the best teams on a regular basis, and that has certainly helped. There is no fear factor in this team. We are no longer impressed by the opponents.
“Finally, Ireland is not just dependent on a cricketer. This team doesn’t depend on people like Paul Sterling or Kevin O’Brien, ”said Simi.
Following the South Africa series, Ireland will play a white ball streak against Zimbabwe, starting August 6. Ireland will play three ODIs and 5 T20Is against Zimbabwe.