Not even in his wildest dream did Pawan Negi think that he would take a five-for on a stage like the CLT20 final and after producing that unexpected stellar effort, the overnight star attributed his success to his stint at Chennai Super Kings and inspiration Daniel Vettori.
Negi beat the likes of Robin Uthappa, Jacques Kallis, Ryan ten Doeschate with his flight and guile on way to a memorable spell in only his second match of the tournament for the Chennai Super Kings.
“It really was a perfect night for me. I never thought I would get to play the game in the first place but looking at the pitch, coach (Stephen Fleming) decided to field me and I am glad I could repay the faith,” the Delhi-born Negi told PTI after returning home from Bangalore.
It was a remarkable showing from the 21-year-old medium pacer-turned spinner considering the limited opportunities he got during Chennai’s campaign, in the presence of established Indian tweakers Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin.
“There are not a lot of people in Delhi with whom I can discuss my bowling. That way spending time with Jaddu bhai (Jadeja) and Ashwin bhai in the nets proved quite helpful, even when was not getting a game. And anyway I was told by coach Fleming to be ready for my chance. He said it could come anytime,” said the diminutive cricketer, who has just played two first-class games for Delhi since his debut in 2011.
Though he got the taste of IPL with Delhi Daredevils, Negi says spending a season with the mighty Super Kings has lifted his game by leaps and bounds.
“Initially I was nervous with Dhoni bhai, Fleming, Andy Bichel (bowling coach) and other big names around. But now I am okay with the dressing room atmosphere, it feels like family. Overall it has been a thorough learning experience. You don’t get to bowl to top-quality batsmen that often in domestic cricket as you do in IPL and CLT20,” he said.
While Jadeja and Ashwin are known to use a lot of variations, Negi keeps it simple. He made it a point to bowl slower through the air and fox the batsmen in the flight.
“That is how I have always liked to bowl and will continued to do so. The pitch in the final offered assistance and things went as per plan,” said Negi pointing out to his favourite dismissal of the day when he had Uthappa stranded outside the crease.
Negi still trains with childhood coach Ajay Verma but for the bowling part, he relies mostly on his role model Vettori.
“I am yet to meet him but I constantly watch his videos on the Internet. That itself has taught me so much.” Negi knows the fame and moolah lies in the shortest format but he is determined to prove his worth in Ranji Trophy also.
“Hopefully, I will get to play more of four-day cricket. Doing well for Delhi is my immediate target and if I do well in the four-day and 50-over format, there is a better chance of getting a national call-up.
“Having said that, I am in no hurry and ready to work my way up the ladder,” concluded Negi, who was advised by Verma in his U-15 days to turn to spin from medium pace and compliment his batting.