As IPL 2021 came to an untimely halt due to the deadly second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the wicket-takers’ was led by an unusual suspect. In many aspects, Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Harshal Patel was the find of the 14th season of the IPL and his ability to bowl at the death took everyone by surprise.
He began the tournament with a head-turning five-wicket haul against Mumbai Indians in the first match of the season. Harshal Patel became the first player to achieve that incredible feat against the five-time champions. He continued to pick up wickets at regular intervals and by the time the IPL got suspended because of a COVID outbreak in camps, Harshal, with 17 wickets in just seven games comfortably led the Purple Cap list.
While chatting with Hindustan Times, Harshal Patel revealed the factor that went on to becoming a turning point for him. Ahead of IPL 2018, Delhi Capitals turned out to be the only franchise that bid for Harshal Patel in the auction, an incident he describes as profound and that made him realise that he hasn’t been providing what the IPL market demands from players.
“That is what I realized after the last season. In 2018 also, not getting a bid other than Delhi was a kick in the stomach. I realized whatever I was offering the market wasn’t interested. I needed to put myself in a position to win games for the team, which I was doing consistently at the domestic level. I just needed to have that change in mindset. That is what has happened probably in the last year-and-a-half,” said Harshal Patel in the interview to Hindustan Times.
Since then, he hasn’t looked back and has put in the hard yards to improve his performances. “It is all individual work, right? It is your journey, people will come and lend you a hand or give you a few words of confidence but at the end of the day, you have to put in the work, be willing to fail spectacularly.”
Harshal Patel also credited his RCB Captain Virat Kohli for giving him the confidence when he first arrived to the franchise and for providing him with the necessary space to perform. “The moment I was traded, Virat sent me a message, ‘Welcome back, you’re going to play here.’ That made a big impact on my confidence and I finally realized this is a team where I can showcase all my skills,” said Patel.
The 30-year-old also went on to add that Kohli understands when bowlers come across batsmen in inspired form and going for big runs is a distinct possibility. “He gives you the space to do your thing. Even if you don’t execute at times he understands better than anybody that on a batter’s day, if they get hold of a bowler, you are going to go for runs. Whenever we are unable to execute, or we stray from our plans, when we sit for the review the only talk is about what we do to stay on the path. We don’t let any other noise come into that environment,” concluded Patel.