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Harshal Patel: Virat gives me absolute freedom
Harshal Patel, the young-lad has earned a name for himself in a team full of superstars! He has been one of Virat Kohli's favourite bowlers and has delivered almost every time! Here's a look at what he feels on Virat's leadership, Donald's impact and the team motto!
Harshal Patel has been a consistent member of our franchise since 2014 and has made a place for himself in the star-studded lineup. The right-arm seamer hailed Virat Kohli's captaincy skills and was happy that he gave his bowlers the freedom to bowl to their strengths and that too with their kind of field settings!
"It's a privilege to have a captain who gives you the freedom to do whatever you want on the field," said Harshal. "Virat is somebody who believes in freedom. He gives you absolute freedom. That is something that every bowler appreciates. He backs us to execute our skills and not be afraid of the results."
He debuted for RCB in the 2012 edition where he went onto pick 9 wickets from 12 games. He was bought back in the 2014 season where he managed to play only 3 games. His major success came last year when he accounted for 17 wickets playing 15 matches.
"In my first year, I didn't know much about IPL or T20 cricket," said Harshal. "I was a very new kid to the scene. That year just went past like a breeze. I learned a lot of things but I didn't expect to play the whole season. The next two years, where I played just three games, I went through a learning curve as well. Throughout those two years, the support staff kept supporting me. Last year was the result of the hard work that I had put in over the last two years."
He has excelled on the Chinnaswamy's track which would usually assist the batsmen. And where the small boundaries add to a bowler's woes.
"It's a challenge to bowl on this ground because 180-190 is a par score here," agreed Harshal. "The margin for error is very small. Like our slogan says 'Play Bold', we just go out there and play bold. We back our skills and plan according to what has worked on this ground and what has not worked on this ground. We just back ourselves to execute it.
"The team goal is to win the IPL. My personal goal is… to try and contribute to the team's cause."
With cricket evolving from traditional drives to cheeky scoops and from huge boundaries to the smaller ones, Harshal was asked how would he stop a batsman like Sarfaraz who can play unorthodox shots, something which the bowler usually cannot predict.
"Well, don't let him play those shots, as simple as that. What Sarfaraz did was something exceptional. Sometimes, what happens is that somebody plays those shots and you've not seen anybody play like that before. Then your mind kind of freezes at that moment. You can't get yourself out of it. I guess that's what happened to the bowlers that day."
He also praised Allan Donald's skills and gave credit to him for teaching him how to get inside a batsman's mind!
"He is somebody who doesn't go deep into technique," explained Harshal. "He's a wonderful guy to have, he can teach you how to play around with batsmen's mind. That is the most important thing a bowler can learn in his early days."
Harshal Patel scalped 40 wickets combined in the Ranji Trophy, Vijay Hazare Trophy and the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and is looking to bring all that experience to RCB!
"I'm trying to bring that learning experience into what I'm doing right now. You work on being more consistent about your execution and clear in your planning. These are the two things that are most important in T20 games and that's what I'm planning for."
He also mentioned that the team motto was to stay focussed and play well!
"The whole environment in RCB is we win as a team and we lose as a team," he said. "There are no two different departments. The only goal is, whatever the batting team is trying to do, we try to defend it. If the batting team has a bad day on the field, we try to defend it and if we have a bad day then the batting team tries to chase it."