When Ireland takes on India in the two T20Is on June 27 and 29, there will be a Punjabi element to the Irish team spirit. 31-year-old Simranjit ‘Simi‘ Singh will play against a country he once dreamt of playing cricket for.
Simi Singh was a talented age group cricketer in Mohali and without taking his passion for playing for India further, decided to move to Ireland in 2006 to study hotel management and played and coached at Malahide Cricket Club.
Having received Irish citizenship last year, spinning all-rounder Simi has played 7 ODIs and 4 T20Is for Ireland and has been named in the squad to face Virat Kohli led Indian team.
"From the day I started playing cricket in Mohali, I always used to dream about playing for the Indian team," Simi said.
"When I did not get my chance in Punjab cricket, I went to study in Ireland and now to get a chance to play against the Indian team at the same ground, where I used to play and train kids, is the biggest moment of my career. Though I have never met players like Indian captain Virat Kohli or MS Dhoni, I have always seen them play on television.” Simi further said.
Simi also said, "In my college days in Chandigarh, I played along with Yuzvendra Chahal and also with Siddharth Kaul and facing them on the cricket field again will be special.”
Recently, in his debut T20I against Netherland, he picked 3/23 to keep the Netherlands to 144. Ireland was reduced to 96/8 in the chase, before Simi came good with the bat, scoring 57 from 29 balls. However, it wasn’t enough for Ireland to beat the Netherlands.
At the domestic level, he posted his maiden 50-over century, 121 not out with eight sixes, in a List A world record seventh-wicket stand of 215 with George Dockrell.
Simi shared, "Playing in the T20 format at the international level before the series against India gave me a lot of confidence. Scotland and Netherlands have some very good players and taking wickets against those teams helped my game. "Playing for Leinster Lightning, which also sees the presence of players like Kevin O'Brien, also gives me an opportunity to hone my allrounder skills.”
(With inputs from cricket.com.au)