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IPL 2021: When Virat Kohli's Message Before Tournament Boosted Harshal Patel's Confidence

By: Cricketnext Staff

Edited By: Madhav Agarwal

Last Updated: May 10, 2021, 12:59 IST

Harshal Patel ran through the Mumbai Indians middle order restricting them from a commanding 135 for 3 in the 16th over to 159 for 9 at the end of their allotted 20.

Harshal Patel ran through the Mumbai Indians middle order restricting them from a commanding 135 for 3 in the 16th over to 159 for 9 at the end of their allotted 20.

Harshal Patel emerged as the highest wicket-taker in the tournament ahead of the likes of Kagiso Rabada and Japrit Bumrah.

RCB all-rounder Harshal Patel has been around for quite some time now, having played in eight seasons of IPL till now. But it was only in 2015 that he managed to play all the matches for his side. This year, before the league was suspended, he emerged as the highest wicket-taker in the tournament ahead of the likes of Kagiso Rabada and Japrit Bumrah.

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In an interview with Hindustan Times, Patel talked about his journey this season. Talking about finishing as the highest wicket-taker, he said, “Yes. I am not comparing (myself) with anybody on that list because they are all great bowlers. At the same time, I know my skills are in the same region. I am not very far behind them. They have been very consistent over the years. This is the first year when I have been put into these pressure situations and done well.

“So, my goal is to keep this mindset, keep improving, keep polishing whatever skills I have, adding a few things here and there, probably have more impact with the bat whenever I get an opportunity. These are the things I am looking at if we end up finishing the second half of IPL in September.”

He went on to say that the gap between international players and domestic players is closing because of the IPL. “The gap (between domestic and international cricketers) has been closing because of IPL. Whatever pressure you are exposed to in (international) cricket, it is pretty much the same in IPL as well. I have heard people who have played international T20 say that IPL is a tougher place to bowl. I haven’t had that experience so I can’t speak for myself…. If you get used to these kinds of situations, and if you get used to keeping a cool head in these tournaments, then all that experience will help you graduate to the highest level.”

Harshal also revealed what was the game-changer for his this year. “The moment I was traded, Virat sent me a message, “welcome back, you are going to play here”. That made a big impact in my confidence and I realised this is a team where I can finally showcase all my skills. He gives you the space to do your thing. Even if you don’t execute at times he understands better than anybody that on a batter’s day, if they get hold of a bowler, you are going to go for runs. Whenever we are unable to execute, or we stray from our plans, when we sit for the review the only talk is about what do we do to stay on the path, how do we stay in the mindset to execute more often than not. We don’t let any other noise come into that environment.”

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He also threw light as to how it is to have AB de Villiers behind the wicket. Harshal says, his inputs are always precise and to the point. “Who better to tell you about what’s going on than AB? He doesn’t talk a lot, he will let you do your own thing but if he finds you are out of depth or struggling, he will come up to chat. Before I come into bowl, he has probably seen seven or eight overs; he will give small pointers on what the wicket is doing, what the batters are trying to do, what are the deliveries that will work. It is always short and concise chat.”

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first published:May 10, 2021, 12:58 IST
last updated:May 10, 2021, 12:59 IST