Sandeep Sharma - Kings XI Punjab - IPL 2016
Fast bowler, Sandeep Sharma, has been one of the most consistent bowlers in the domestic level and has risen to prominence after some impactful performances in the Under-19 circuit for India and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The 23-year-old is one of the few genuine Indian fast bowlers who have performed in the IPL in several seasons and not just one. The pacer is currently playing for India Red in the Duleep Trophy 2016 and has already announced his arrival with a 4-wkt haul in his comeback game with the Pink Ball.
In a recent interview with Circle Of Cricket, Sandeep Sharma, talks about bowling with the Pink ball, his comeback, Kings XI Punjab and a lot more.
Q) You played your first match after a long lay-off and got a 4-wkt haul that too with the Pink ball. What do you have to say about the game?
A) Yeah, it feels great. The Pink ball is actually very different from the usual ones. When it's hard and new, it swings for the first 7-8 and after that, it gets difficult to bowl as it gets softer. The pink ball shines on both the sides due to its glaze thus makes it difficult for the fast bowlers after a while. If you see, in the first innings, both fast bowlers and the spinners took wickets even though it was a green pitch and in the second innings spinners dominated even more with the ball. The pink is definitely not an easy ball to bowl with, under lights, as there is the due factor too.
Q) You said that the Pink ball shines on both the sides. Does that mean it is difficult to make the ball shine from one side?
A) We did try to make only one side of the ball shine but then it is not really working at the moment. The shiny and non-shiny side turn up to be of the same colour eventually.
Q) Since you have used the pink ball already. Which bowl do you prefer bowling with? Red, white or Pink?
A) For the longer formats, obviously the red ball. And for ODIs and T20Is it's the white ball. The Pink ball being the last preference (laughs) as it is more challenging right now.
Q) The domestic season has begun and there is a lot of cricket ahead of you. How do you prepare for the season and stay in shape for it? Have you set any targets for yourself?
A) I played a long game after a year and a half almost and it really felt good. Slowly I will get better and better. The rhythm is good right now and I am sure I will do well this season in the Ranji Trophy games. Really want to win the Ranji Trophy for Punjab this season and my performances shall have an impact on the team's success. Indian Team is always the ultimate goal for but that shall only come when I show some consistency on the field.
Q) Who has been your bowling mentor throughout your career?
A) My childhood coach Manish Bali has helped me a lot I discuss my bowling with him. He is from Patiala too and guides me to be mentally stable. Then there has been Bharat Arun who is a wonderful person and guide who has taught me a thing or two about my bowling. When I was not focused or mentally disturbed, he was always there for help to instill confidence in me.
Q) Now we move to the IPL and your stint with Kings XI Punjab. Did you learn a few things from teammate Mitchell Johnson?
A) Actually, we did not really talk about our bowling as we have different styles. The discussions we had was based on mental aspects and handling pressure situations. In fact, Viru Paji (Virender Sehwag), who was our mentor did help me with a few bowling tips as he is an amazingly experienced man. He has been in the thick of things so he knows how to handle various situations.
Q) Who was your closest friend in the Kings XI Punjab team?
A) Not that I have one close friend as there are many players from the Punjab team. Especially, Mandeep Singh, who now plays for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). I miss him a lot here in KXIP. Whenever we get to play in a tournament together, we talk a lot and he keeps telling me to join RCB or have him back at KXIP (Laughs). Then there is Manan who is a childhood friend and Gurkeerat Singh Mann. If I had to choose one, then I would take Mandeep's name as I miss him a lot as we have been playing together since the Under-14's.
Q) When you are not playing cricket, what is your favorite pastime?
A) When I am not playing, I love to explore Social Media - Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. I also enjoy playing Table Tennis a lot. Also, love to collect and listen to music.
Q) Since you have talked about Social Media, we have noticed that you share a lot of romantic stuff on your Social Media accounts. So we would like to know if these are just random or are you in love?
A) Firstly, I would like to know what are the romantic things that I have shared on my Social Media (Laughs). Well, there is nothing like that. Just that when people are young, they tend to share such stuff as it's on their mind. Now let's come back to Cricket (Laughs).
Sandeep Sharma with team Circle of Cricket