Utkarsh Singh plays his domestic cricket for Jharkhand. The 22-year-old explained how MS Dhoni always made it a point to visit training camps in Ranchi, practice with the team and guide youngsters with his invaluable advice. In an interview with the Punjab Kings, Singh said:
"Whenever we have a camp in Ranchi, he (MS Dhoni) always comes and practices with the team. And obviously, he’s always been a guiding influence on all of us here. 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."
The all-rounder highlighted how that advice from MS Dhoni changed his mindset.
"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. 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,” explained the Jharkhand based all-rounder.
This is Utkarsh Singh's first stint in the IPL after the Punjab Kings secured his services for ₹20 lakh at auction earlier this year. The all-rounder is still waiting for his first appearance, and it remains to be seen whether he will be able to make a breakthrough in Punjab's playing XI this season.
Utkarsh Singh's record in T20 cricket
Utkarsh Singh stood out for his impressive economy rate in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2021. The off-spinner conceded runs at an economy of 5.23 in the five matches he played for Jharkhand.
Overall, the youngster has played 21 T20 games in his career, scoring runs at an average of 23.80, while his strike rate is 127.2. With the ball, Singh stands out with an economy rate of 6.27. The 22-year-old has picked up 19 wickets in 21 T20 games.
Punjab Kings will be in action on Friday when they take on the MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede Stadium.