REECHAT- Circle of Cricket’s latest presentation in the digital world proved to be a success with its first episode featuring former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan, who was in conversation with Reema Malhotra, former India women’s player.
The second episode of the show, which will see many more Indian cricketers featured in interesting chat, saw India’s 2007 T20 World Cup-winning fast bowler, RP Singh having some intriguing conversation with Reema, sharing his rise in cricket, playing for India and life after calling time on his career.
Rudra Pratap or RP Singh, made his debut for India in ODIs against Zimbabwe in 2005, in Tests against Pakistan in 2006 and in T20Is against Scotland in the 2007 T20 World Cup. He played 14 Tests, picking 40 wickets, 58 ODIs, playing 69 scalps, and 10 T20I matches, taking 15 wickets in all. He turned out for Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat in domestic cricket.
During the REECHAT with Reema Malhotra, RP Singh talked about how he broke into the Indian team and recalled his debut matches. He said that his success in the U19 World Cup 2004, where he picked 8 wickets opened up the door for him to play for India A and then Ranji Trophy for Uttar Pradesh.
He called his 4/35 against Sri Lanka in his third ODI, the best performance of his career, saying that this cemented his spot in the Men in Blue side, apart from earning him his maiden Man of the Match award. He was also the Player of the Match on his Test debut against Pakistan in Faisalabad in 2006.
“It was a very flat wicket in Faisalabad. Both teams made many runs and I got MOM due to my hard work on that track. Picking 5 wickets on that track was good, but I don’t think it was that good of a performance. According to me taking out the whole team by bowling 12-15 overs is much better, instead of picking wickets by toiling hard for 30 overs,” RP Singh said.
RP Singh was a major contributor to India’s successful campaign in the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007 in South Africa. Talking about his favorite moments of the tournament RP mentioned picking 4/13 against South Africa in a do or die clash and removing Herschelle Gibbs LBW.
However, he also pointed out the contribution of captain MS Dhoni by giving an example of how he planned to dismiss Mohammad Hafeez in the final of the tournament.
“The best moment was the final when Hafeez came to bat, Dhoni asked me bowl to his strength on the offside, but plugged his release shot to the third man by putting Robin Uthappa in between the 3rd and the 4th slip. Hafeez played the shot and got out as planned,” RP Singh said.
RP Singh was impressed with Dhoni’s captaincy in the tournament and said, “You can remember our accomplishment but you don’t recall Dhoni's performances. But he was the backbone of the team with his captaincy. He was very good with his field placements, bowling changes, and setting up plans. He read the game brilliantly."
The former left-arm pacer is also good friends with the former India captain and revealed quite a bit about MS Dhoni.
He said, “I spent a lot of time with Dhoni. He is very good at controlling emotions on the field. He is a born leader and expert in reading match situations. Behavior is exemplary both on and off the field. He gets angry, but not much. He lives by the mantra of controlling what you can move on from what you can’t.”
RP Singh said that he realized that his time playing cricket was up when he knew that he was out of that pool of 40-50 players from which selectors pick for the Indian team. He tried to play on, helping Gujarat win the Ranji Trophy and other domestic tournaments, but finally decided to announce his retirement on the same day, that he made his debut, September 5 in 2018.
RP Singh also had a successful career in IPL playing for Deccan Chargers, Kochi Tuskers Kerala, Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore, and Rising Pune Super Giants and picked 90 wickets in 82 matches from 2008-2016.
He was the purple cap holder in IPL 2009 with 23 wickets and led Chargers to their only IPL title when the tournament was played in South Africa. However, he found it difficult to adjust to new teams and captains after every 2-3 years.
“It’s difficult to align with new captains every 2-3 years. Very few teams have a cemented captains and staff. The best performance of mine came when I played for Deccan Chargers for three years. I was one of the highest wicket-takers in the first 6-7 years in IPL. If I would have played for one team for a long time, my performance would have been much better,” RP said.
Apart from this, RP Singh also talked about his stint with CAC, how he finds doing commentary easy, and about the support he received from his wife Devanshi. He also mentioned that it will be difficult for players to get back their match fitness when cricket comes back after this long break due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Here is the entire conversation between RP Singh and Reema Malhotra:
The next episode of REECHAT comes out on August 7 at 8 PM IST and features a 2011 World Cup winner.