Twenty-year-old medium-pacer Sandeep Sharma has been impressive by scalping heavyweights Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli. Speaking to The Indian Express ahead of their match against Hyderabad, Sandeep talks about doing his research for big-named batsmen, the bowlers he admires and if he is hopeful of breaking into the Indian team. Excerpts
How do you plan when you bowl to a player like Gayle? And how does it change when bowling to another left-hander like David Warner?
Having done a bit of homework on him, I discovered that he struggles against deliveries which swing away from leg stump towards the off. Keeping that in mind, I kept bowling at the leg stump and swung it. I have plans to counter Shikhar Dhawan, Aaron Finch and David Warner of the Hyderabad Sunrisers. Warner is a fantastic batsman, who plays well off the backfoot. Last year too, I had troubled him by inviting him to drive the ball on the frontfoot and he would be get caught in the slips.
You trouble the left-handers because of your away going deliveries but what about the right-handers?
There is no doubt that in-swinging deliveries have been my strength. I have taken most wickets with in-swingers. But I need to work on variations.
So far in the IPL who has been the toughest batsman to bowl to?
The Kolkata Knight Riders’ batsmen seemed to have done their homework on me. I was struggling against their batsmen. For example, Robin Uthappa countered me so well. He would just come charging out of the crease and play a shot.
Your captain George Bailey has shown confidence in you and he allows you to set your own field. Your thoughts.
George Bailey has been a great captain. But then, Viru paaji has been phenomenal too. His inputs and encouragement helped me bowl well against RCB. He told me that the key to success was to get maximum wickets with the new ball and not allow Kohli, Gayle or Yuvraj to cut loose. So, I bowled an attacking line with an attacking field in place.
Who is your favourite bowler?
I admire James Anderson. He swings the ball so well even when he is bowling at 140 kmph. His wrist movement and the way he releases the ball is perfect.
As of now I am concentrating on the IPL. I am sure selectors will keep their eyes on the best performers of the tournament.
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