Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Several Indian-origin cricketers have played for several national teams across the globe. Most of them have inspiring and motivating stories of hard work and struggle to realise their aspiration of making it big and playing at the international stage. Indian-born cricketer Simi aka Simranjeet Singh who is now playing for Ireland in the ongoing T20 World Cup in Australia is one among such cricketers.

Like any other young cricketer, Simi wanted to represent India. However, everyone knows how tough the task is. He didn’t get selected for the national junior team. However, he was not disheartened. He took another route through hard work and struggle to fulfill his dream of playing international cricket.

They say - when there is a will, there is a way. Simi got an opportunity to make it to the Ireland team. It was his unlikely destination out of nowhere. One of Simi’s friends, who had trained alongside him in Mohali, brought the idea to him. He suggested Simi to try his fortune in Ireland for a season. The idea fuelled the aspiration again in him that he might one day be able to play international cricket.

Simi was from a middle-class family in India. His parents had government jobs. However, he had not enough support system when he headed to a foreign land. With lack of financial support, his journey was pretty tough.

On a student visa in Ireland, Simi had to work hard to sustain. He had to take up temporary jobs along with pursuing cricket to live his dream. While he never had to perform any household duties in India, the foreign country did not give him the same kind of comfort to Simi. Working as a part-time worker at a hardware store, he had to do manual labour, lugging heavy wood to store shelves. Simi was also asked by his boss to perform tasks that were ‘humiliating’. In one of his interviews, Simi revealed that he even had to clean toilets.

However, Simi calls the experience important in his tough cricketing journey. Eventually, Simi’s hard work bore fruits and he made his first-class debut in Ireland in 2017. Then he broke into the List A team Leinstar Lightning. With a lot of hard work and perseverance, Simi continued his cricketing journey and eventually emerged as the highest scorer as well as leading wicket-taker in the 2019 Inter-Provincial Championship.

Subsequently, he was awarded a central contract along with 18 other for Ireland. He was contracted for full-time by Cricket Ireland in 2020. Simi got his first big break for Ireland the same year, making his ODI debut against New Zealand. 

He made his T20I debut the following year against Netherlands. He went on to become the first batsman playing at number eight or below to make a half-century on T20I debut. His first five-wicket haul in ODIs came against the UAE in 2021. 

The all-rounder scored his first ODI century against South Africa in the same year.  He was recognised by ICC for a rare honour in January 2022. Simi was named in the ICC Men’s ODI Team of the Year for 2021.