Former Pakistan captain Hafeez defends India's Arshdeep amid brutal online trolling

India's Arshdeep Singh has been trolled on social media for dropping an easy catch during the match against Pakistan

India's pace bowler Arshdeep Singh. (AFP)
India's pace bowler Arshdeep Singh. (AFP)

Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Mon 5 Sep 2022, 3:24 PM

Last updated: Mon 5 Sep 2022, 3:45 PM

In the post-social media world, even the most experienced of players can have a meltdown after a poor game on a big occasion.

But Arshdeep Singh, India’s 23-year pace bowler, didn’t exactly have a poor game against Pakistan in the DP World T20 Asia Cup Super Four clash in Dubai on Sunday.

His figures of 3.5-0-27-1 on a flat wicket against a formidable opponent would have made any seasoned pro proud.

But it was his failure to complete an easy catch at short third-man after Asif Ali top-edged a slog sweep against leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi that proved to the be turning point in the match.

Ali had yet to open his account when he went for that big shot with Pakistan needing 31 off 16 balls while chasing 182.

The right-hander pounced on that dropped catch with an eight-ball 16, effectively ending the match as a contest despite Arshdeep redeeming himself with a brilliant last over that saw Ali trapped in front of the wicket for an lbw decision.

In his fledgling career, Arshdeep has already proven himself as a death overs specialist, especially in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

After dropping a sitter on Sunday, the Punjab youngster showed remarkable composure to bowl the final over when Pakistan needed only seven to win with six wickets in hand.

And his dismissal of Ali gave India a glimmer of hope before Iftikhar Ahmed’s match-winning boundary on the penultimate ball.

The whole on-field episode, though, proved why the Indian team management has invested heavily in Arshdeep. Blessed with remarkable death overs skills, Arshdeep also poses a calm head on his shoulders.

But what was not pleasant to see was the deluge of online abuse at Arshdeep, with some even dragging his name to the Khalistan movement.

Even former Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez felt for sorry for the Indian youngster.

“My request to all Indian team fans. In sports we make mistakes as we r human. Please don’t humiliate anyone on these mistakes @arshdeepsinghh,” Hafeez tweeted on Sunday night.

Ironically, it was only one year ago that Mohammed Shami was asked to go to Pakistan by the keyboard warriors over his poor figures after India lost a World Cup game to the bitter rivals for the first time.

"Even when I played my first game against Pakistan in Champions Trophy, I played a bad shot and got out. Anyone can make mistakes under pressure,’ Virat Kohli said as he batted for Arshdeep.

“The team environment is great right now, credit for this goes to management and captain. So one must accept his mistake, address it and look forward to being in that pressure situation once again.”

For India to now have a chance at beating the rejuvenated Sri Lanka in the Super Four do-or-die clash on Tuesday, Arshdeep needs to be on top of his game.

Of course, as Kohli said, the skillful left-armer has a zen-like figure in Rahul Dravid to fall back on as he hopes to shut himself off the social media vitriol.

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