‘Sticking to basics pays… even against Gayle’

After an impressive Ranji season,in which he took 37 wickets for Haryana at 23.24,Mohit Sharma has taken that form into the IPL for Chennai Super Kings.

Written by Siddhartha Sharma | New Delhi | Published: May 21, 2013 12:42 am

After an impressive Ranji season,in which he took 37 wickets for Haryana at 23.24,Mohit Sharma has taken that form into the IPL for Chennai Super Kings. Apart from taking wickets — 17 at an average of 15.76 — Mohit has also stood out with an economy rate of 6.23,the fifth-best this season among bowlers who have sent down more than 10 overs. In a conversation with The Indian Express,Mohit talks about the work that has gone behind his successes. Excerpts:

You were Haryana’s spearhead during the domestic season,and you’ve taken on that role even at CSK. What has been your driving force?

To be honest,even when I sat out the first three matches of the IPL,I was bowling well in the nets. It was before the fourth match against RCB that Dhoni bhai and Mike Hussey spent some time with me. They told me to stick to what I am good at — bowling in the corridor and bowl a lot of dot balls — and I should just focus on that. I follow my basics when I am bowling for Haryana and Dhoni bhai and Hussey told me to further strengthen them while bowling in the IPL.

Apart from the pep talks from Dhoni and other seniors,what have you learnt from the CSK bowling coach,Andy Bichel?

Bichel has been a huge help to me. He continuously gives his inputs on my bowling. The one thing he has helped me perfect is how to use the crease. I had been doing it for Haryana as well,but Bichel tells me to use the crease even more often in T20. Sometimes I bowl around the stumps to left-handers and go really wide just to impart an angle to my delivery and that helps me stay in the corridor as well. So there is no width and the result is that batsmen make mistakes and my economy rate stays under six. Now with the play-offs in mind,Bichel’s focus has moved to bowling in the death overs. This is something I am working hard on.

And how did you cope up with the pressure of playing in front of a huge crowd and making your debut against Chris Gayle and Bangalore?

A night before that,I was very excited. But on the day of the match,there was a mixed feeling of being excited to play my first IPL game and a fear of bowling to Chris Gayle. But when I marked my run-up and was about to bowl to Gayle,I just remembered what I was briefed by Dhoni. He told me to bowl stump-to-stump to Gayle and that I should offer him no width. With my basics clear,I kept hitting that line and thankfully I escaped Gayle’s hitting.

You have played quite a lot of T20 games for Haryana and that too in empty stadiums where it might have been easy for you to stay focused. Is it difficult to stay composed in front of a vociferous IPL crowd?

No,it is very difficult. Here the focus is not just bowling but to keep track of your field placements,and what your captain is trying to tell you from his position as wicketkeeper,and to constantly look at him while fielding. The noise is too much and it is difficult to focus on every ball. The only difference between a Ranji game and the IPL is that you have to regain your concentration before you bowl the next ball while in the Ranji Trophy,you follow a plan and keep bowling all day.

So far,what has been the best moment for you during the IPL?

Getting Viru paaji (Virender Sehwag) out at the Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium in Delhi is my moment to remember,not just for this IPL but forever. And obviously my figures in that match,of three overs for ten runs and three wickets,were just perfect. I just hope that I keep throwing up such performances.

The Dug-out

‘Didn’t Ishant bowl his first over with second new ball?’

Dale Steyn,the best fast bowler in the world and a member of the Sunrisers Hyderabad unit,feels always looking towards spinners for wickets is not the right way to go about encouraging the crop of pacers in India. “If you’re always going to look at the spinners to do the job for you,what’s the point of even having fast bowlers?” asked Steyn. “I watched the series and at one stage Ishant Sharma bowled his first over of the match with the second new ball! There’s not a lot of confidence your captain is giving you as a fast bowler when he gives you the ball after 80 overs,” he said. “For a bowler like Ishant it doesn’t say a lot for him.”

CA sets Warner’s hearing for Wednesday

David Warner will face a Cricket Australia disciplinary hearing on Wednesday over comments he made on Twitter in angry exchanges with two journalists. CA said Warner,who is set to play for Australia in the Champions Trophy and Ashes Test series in England,was alleged to have breached a section of its code relating to “unbecoming behaviour.” Warner used Twitter on Friday night from India to launch an expletive-filled attack on journalists Robert Craddock and Malcolm Conn after taking exception to an article critical of the IPL.

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