Simi Singh reminisces tumultuous times before first T20I versus India

Born in Punjab, Simi has played alongside the likes of Siddarth Kaul.

Simi Singh
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Simi Singh. (Photo Source: The Irish Times)

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Ireland and India locked horns yesterday at the Malahide Cricket Ground in Dublin for the first T20I and the hosts lost by 76 runs. On the park, apart from 11 Indians, there was one more player whose place of origin is India, Simranjeet Singh aka Simi Singh, the Irish all-rounder. He didn’t make much impact with his cricketing prowess, with either bat or ball, but there’s much to him than mere cricket.

Born in Punjab, Simi has played alongside the likes of Siddarth Kaul, who plays for Punjab as well. He plied his trade for Punjab U15, U17 and U19, however, couldn’t stay put in his position in the team. It frustrated Simi and he embarked to Ireland in 2005 to pursue hotel management. Gaurav, one of his friends, told him about the opportunities of playing cricket and simultaneously continuing his studies in the European nation.

In one year, he started playing for the Malahide Cricket Club. He started bowling off-spin, seeing videos of the legendary Saqlain Mushtaq. It was only in 2017 that he was blessed with an Irish citizenship. Meanwhile, the moments of the PCA Stadium in Mohali hasn’t faded away from his memories and he again wishes to play at the venue. He is even planning to appear for the trials of the Kings XI Punjab.

“He was treated very badly”- Simi’s coach

Yesterday, prior to the match, Simi revealed how emotions ran through him. He also drew comparisons between the Indian and Irish cricket. “It is one heck of a journey. To be part of the Irish national team is a dream come true for me. The system in Ireland is very transparent unlike India; and today, if I find myself in the limelight, it is purely because of cricketing reasons,” he was quoted as saying in Cricbuzz.

“It was a very frustrating time for me and also my family. My dream to play for India was nipped in the bud. I would play cricket on the weekend by paying five euros per game. I worked at a grocery store so that I could afford to pay to play cricket,” the all-rounder added while revealing the difficult times early on his childhood days.

Bharti Vij, Simi’s coach, and one Punjab’s cricketing legends also hailed him and reckoned that luck didn’t favour the youngster during his stint with Punjab. “He was very hardworking, he was treated very badly here (in Punjab). Simi didn’t get the chance to prove his mettle at the U-19 level,” he mentioned.

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