Young Jharkhand all-rounder, Utkarsh Singh speaks about the advice MS Dhoni gave him and the former India captain’s influence over the cricketers in Jharkhand. Utkarsh Singh was recently roped in by the Punjab Kings in the February auction for IPL 2021 for his base price of INR 20 lakhs.
The right-arm off-spinner is a bright prospect for the future for the state and the national side. He is known to be a canny spinner and a hard hitter at the top of the order. Utkarsh Singh revealed that MS Dhoni often comes to the practice session and interacts with the players.
“Whenever we have a camp in Ranchi, he always comes and practices with the team. And obviously he’s always been a guiding influence on all of us here,” Utkarsh Singh said in an exclusive interview with Punjab Kings.
“I remember him telling me ‘Utkarsh dekh, mujhe sirf ek hei cheez chahiye, I want you to turn the ball every time you’re bowling,” reveals the all-rounder.
While bowling I see myself as a pure bowler and while batting as a pure batsman: Utkarsh Singh
Utkarsh Singh, 22, talks about his mindset and the willingness to contribute to the team in both departments. He reckons he has to think as a pure batter while batting and a sole bowler with the ball in hand.
He could manage just 6 wickets in eight games in the 2018/19 Ranji Trophy season; the tally increased to 16 wickets in the same number of games the next season. He was also impressive in the white-ball games preceding the IPL.
Utkarsh Singh credits the advice from the Chennai Super Kings skipper for the improvements in his game and his recent success which led to an IPL contract with KL Rahul’s side. It remains to be seen if the youngster could get any opportunity in IPL 2021.
“I think this was in 2017, and ever since then I haven’t thought of myself as an all-rounder, while I’m bowling I see myself as a pure bowler and while batting I think of myself as a pure batsman, trying to add value in both departments. When I bowl, I think of myself as an off-spinner, and obviously that has helped me a lot in my bowling.
“And he (Dhoni) has advised me on how to bowl in different situations, how to read and assess the game, and ever since his advice I have made it a point to consciously look to turn the ball more. And turning the ball has definitely helped me as a bowler.
“Because there is always an uncertainty in the minds of the batsmen, be it a right hander or a left hander,” he asserted.