Harshal Patel,then a part of the Indian U-19 World Cup squad,warmed the benches with Mumbai Indians in the previous edition of the IPL. The lack of opportunities at the Ranji level saw the Gujarat lad then switch to Haryana and that seemed to make all the difference. Thirty wickets at 24.7 in the 2011-12 first class season (including eight-wicket hauls in the quarterfinals and the semifinals) saw the medium pacer finish the top-wicket taker for his side.
The performance bagged him a contract with Royal Challengers Bangalore,where the 21-year-old now shares the new ball with India medium-pacer R Vinay Kumar. Ahead of Bangalores clash against the Kings XI Punjab on Friday,the pace bowler spoke to The Indian Express about his IPL experience.
On quick ascent
I played my first match for Haryana in the T20 format and it was a surprise when Daniel Vettori told me that I am playing my first game against Delhi Daredevils. I was at a loss on sharing the dressing room with guys like Chris Gayle and AB De Villiers. Its still early days for me in the IPL but the team has shown faith in me.
On fast bowling in T20
Bowling in this format needs proper planning and execution of plans and Zaheer bhai has given me a lot of inputs. He told me to bowl at good pace and also bowl my out swingers regularly. He said he was impressed with my Ranji performance and that has been a great motivation.
On move to Haryana
I was not getting opportunities in Gujarat. Anirudh Chaudhary sir (HCA secretary) approached me and I agreed. The teams strength this season has been its fast bowling. Most of us worked with former Essex bowler Ian Pont in the Ranji season and that benefitted me a lot. He told me to concentrate on my outswingers and bowl quicker. Bowling in the Ranji trophy helps me understand Indian wickets and also learn how to control my pace.