IND v SA 2022: “I can't bowl fast as Umran Malik”, Harshal Patel focusing on developing variations to outsmart batters

Harshal Patel played a key role in India's victory in the third T20I against South Africa.

Harshal Patel | BCCIIndia medium-pacer Harshal Patel understands that he needs to constantly improve his ‘variations' game to stay ahead in the race since he doesn’t possess the pace of someone like Umran Malik.

Having made his T20I debut last November, Harshal has impressed one and all with his exploits, claiming 17 wickets in 11 matches at an average of 19.52.

See Also: Harshal Patel's price tag is low, should be in 14-15 crore category- Virender Sehwag

Slower pitches suit his style of bowling more as he did exceptionally well in the last two T20Is against South Africa after being taken to the cleaners in the first game of the ongoing series.

"To be honest, people have been trying to anticipate what I am bowling for the last two years (in IPL). With every bowler the longer they play, the opposition will realise what the bowlers strengths and patterns are.

"As a bowler my job is to stay one step ahead of them. At the end of the day you can have 15 plans but on a particular day in a pressure situation if you don't go out and execute with confidence, everything doesn't fall in place.

"My focus is on trying to execute the best possible delivery at that point of time,” Harshal said on the eve of the fourth T20I against South Africa.

The 31-year-old relies heavily on variations to outfox the batters and he says that is something he needs to consistently work on.

"I can't worry about pace because I can't bowl fast as Umran Malik. I have to develop skills to render myself effective at the international level. I have never been an express fast bowler though on a good day I can go near 140 kmph.

"My focus has always been to develop skills around my bowling and whatever limitations and advantages I have in my bowling.

"I would certainly prefer to play on slow wickets. It gives you a fighting chance. If you can keep playing on pitches like Delhi it can hamper your confidence a little bit.

"We have bowlers who can bowl on all pitches but it brings them more into the game when there are slightly slower pitches and slightly bigger ground dimensions," he said.

In three T20Is against South Africa, Harshal Patel has picked up six wickets so far, including the figures of 4 for 25 in the third match at Visakhapatnam.

The penultimate T20I is due to be played in Rajkot on Friday (June 17).


By Salman Anjum - 17 Jun, 2022

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