Simi Singh, the Punjab born Irish all rounder, believes that Ireland have one solitary goal in the T20 World Cup, which is to show the world the potential they possess.
Speaking in an exclusive interview to Sportscafe, Simi, while admitting that the side’s primary aim is to finish in the Top 2 of their qualifying group and book a berth in the ‘Super 12’ stage, said, “I think the way we played in the last couple of series has given us a tremendous belief that we actually can do it. That sort of a feeling only comes through winning and so beating West Indies in West Indies in a T20 game was a big confidence booster for the whole side.”
“Then going into the tournament, our aim will just be to try and express ourselves. We’ve got this method that we’ve picked up from the last few series, to play with Freedom. Our aim is to go out there and try and take the game on, rather than being intimidated by the opposition. So that’s what we will try and do in both bowling and batting. That will be our target – to play good cricket and show the world that we’re not here by accident and we’re actually a good team. That will be our main motive in the tournament.”
Simi was born in the village named Bathlana, located in Punjab. He began his journey at the age of 11 when he joined an academy in Mohali.
Simi narrated his days of Cricket in India. He said, “Like everyone else in India, I picked up the sport by playing street cricket. So I joined an academy in Mohali around the age of 11/12. I lived close to the PCA stadium, so I joined the academy there during summer holidays – in the year of 1999, to be precise. The Cricket World Cup was on, so obviously when you’re watching the World Cup, you want to play cricket. So that’s where it all started.”
Simi, who began his Cricketing career as a specialist opening batsman, continued, ““The turning point for me, when I actually thought I can do something in cricket, was an under-14 tournament; it was a school national tournament in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. I did well in that tournament, I was the best all-rounder, and actually that’s where I started bowling off-spin regularly. And then I came back to Mohali and played BCCI age-group state-level tournaments (under-14, under-15 and under-16) where I was more of an opening batsman. At that point, my bowling took a step back, because in India, the culture back then was more specialist, so I was a specialist opening batsman.”
His move to Ireland was down to the fact that he was not considered for the Punjab U19 Cricket team during the season of 2003/04. He said, “In the year of 2003/04, I scored a lot of runs in the local tournament but did not get picked for the Punjab Under-19 state team. After that, the following year, I did not do great and thus did not get into the state sides. So that was the turning point for me. Knowing what the situation was, I realized that it would be difficult for me to get into the team. So I had two options at my disposal: either I could have changed my state and gone elsewhere, or changed the country. So I decided to move to Ireland because I had a friend over there (from India) who played cricket.”
Simi chanced his luck by enlisting his name for the IPL auction in 2018, but unfortunately, was not picked up by any franchise. He said, “My name was in the auction a couple of times, as recent as 2018, but I did not make the final shortlist cut. I didn’t think I was good enough to play in the IPL, at that time. But after I started playing international cricket and did well against big teams, the recent tours of West Indies and Afghanistan, for instance, I started getting the belief (that I was good enough). I thought to myself, ‘If I could take the wicket of someone like a Pollard or a Hetmyer in international cricket, there’s no reason why I cannot do it in the IPL. Because it’s the same cricketers who play there’. But I think I have to be more consistent. If I have a very good year, then people will get to know my name more then I will have more of a chance to get picked in the IPL. You could send out your name every year, but no one is going to look at that without knowing who you are.”