October 21, 1979, Amritsar, Punjab
Right hand bat
Right arm offbreak
When Sarandeep Singh made his debut at Nagpur in November 2000, it was the first time in almost six months that India were playing a specialist offspinner. Brought on almost as an afterthought by his captain, when Zimbabwe had already reached 145, Sarandeep started impeccably with four maidens. He struck twice in ten balls soon after, extracting turn and bite to keep the close cordon busy, and ended the game with six wickets.
Blooded into first class cricket against Haryana at Amritsar in 1998-99, Sarandeep made 45, a legacy of having started his career as a batsman in junior cricket, but went wicketless. A superb spell against Hyderabad in the Super League quickly made pundits sit up and take notice, his match haul of eight wickets taking Punjab to the brink of victory but the effort being thwarted by the fickleness of the batsmen who failed to chase a target of 176. Before the season was out, Sarandeep was playing for the India Under-19s against the touring Sri Lankans.
Sarandeep's 37 victims at 19.43 in the 1999-2000 Ranji Trophy, just his second season in first class cricket, thrust him into the national reckoning. His swift rise was recognised by the National Cricket Academy which selected him amongst its first batch of trainees in May 2000, a tough four month grind punctuated by lessons from such masters of the craft like Prassana and Venkataraghavan. After impressing in the 2001 domestic season, Sarandeep was picked for a Test against England at Bangalore. He got one more opportunity, in the West Indies in April 2002, but one wicket for 80 in a high-scoring draw meant he was only selected for three more ODIs.
Sarandeep moved from Delhi to Himachal Pradesh for the 2006-07 domestic season - the side wanted a spinner - and finished with 28 wickets at 22.28. As he put it, the responsibility brought the best out of him, and he enjoyed his cricket more than ever.
Cricinfo staff November 2007
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