Player profile: Who is the new spin sensation Amar Virdi?Last updated on Jun 27, 2020, 07:42 pm
Surrey off-spinner Amar Virdi was drafted into England's 30-man training squad by ECB ahead of the impending Test series against West Indies.
The 21-year-old was among the eight uncapped players included in the "behind-closed-doors training group".
This is his maiden call-up in the national squad following impressive performances in the domestic circuit.
In this article, we unravel the journey of Amar Virdi.
A look at Virdi's First-class career
Virdi made his First-class debut in 2017, having represented Surrey in a County Championship Division One game against Essex.
He was right on the money, having finished with three scalps.
In his two-year-old First-class career, the off-break bowler has claimed 69 scalps from 22 matches at an average of 28.78.
He registered his best match figures of 139/14 against Nottinghamshire, last year.
The beginning of Virdi's professional career
Virdi described the intricacies he experienced during his initial career.
"It can be very daunting for people from minority communities to play cricket just within your community and then moving to a bigger club," he said.
"I started at Indian Gymkhana, which is majority Asian, and I found it daunting moving to Sunbury Cricket Club, which I did at about 12 years old."
Here is what Virdi excels at
Virdi's propensity to set up the batsman and later attack, is quite reminiscent to that of former spinners Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar.
"I think if you're attacking you will bowl a lot more wicket-taking deliveries and that's what makes you dangerous," said Virdi.
He added, "My memories are of Graeme Swann ripping through them in the Ashes. They're fond memories."
Virdi proved pivotal for England Lions in Australia
Virdi made his Under-19 debut for England in 2016.
A year later, he graduated to the Lions squad, that toured Australia along with the senior Ashes squad.
Virdi snapped up four wickets for 70 runs in the one-off match against Queensland XI.
He was also the highest wicket-taker in the match.
Since then, he has been vying for a spot in the national squad.
Virdi failed to meet the fitness requirements
Virdi was left out of Surrey's Championship team for the first half of last season after failing to meet the required fitness mark.
The right-arm spinner sustained a major stress fracture in his back.
Surrey's Director of Cricket, Alec Stewart, publicly spoke about how Virdi needed to scale up in terms of fitness.
As a result, the latter made a significant comeback in July.
'The ouster made me realize the importance of fitness'
"Maybe my approach has been a lot more focused on my bowling. Cricket now includes everything...your fitness. It probably took something like that to realise how important it was. If that hadn't have happened I might have struggled progressing to the next level," added Virdi.
Virdi will be hopeful for making the cut
With Moeen Ali back into the mix, there is little doubt that he will be in contention for the first Test.
He is looked upon as England's first-choice spinner, along with Jack Leach.
There is plenty of experience ahead of the rookie Amar Virdi in England's pecking order.
Nonetheless, he will be eying the coveted spot as the series commences on July 8.