Chennai Super Kings have been the most consistent and one of the most balanced IPL teams since the first season. A strong core of Indian players has been their biggest strength and the main reason behind them finishing in the top-four every time. (Also Read: RCB vs CSK - M70 Report & Stats: IPL 2013)
However, there was one slot that they tried hard to fill for the first five years but without much success – that of a quality Indian pace bowler.
Ahead of IPL 2013, CSK’s bowling coach Andy Bichel oversaw a trail of a few uncapped fast bowlers, picked from the length and breadth of the country and picked four from them. Haryana’s 24-year-old pacer, Mohit Sharma, was one of them.
After CSK’s last league match of the season, Mohit has 17 wickets from 13 matches at an economy rate of 6.23. Also, a majority of his wickets have helped his team break the back of the opposition top-order in the Power Plays.
In a chat with IPLT20.com Mohit spoke of his journey in the IPL which will be the culmination of a successful cricketing season for him after being the fifth highest wicket-taker in the 2012-13 Ranji Trophy.
The feeling of belonging
I have been playing Ranji Trophy for the last two years but I’ve played a lot of age group cricket before that. I played three-four years of Under-19 cricket before getting a chance in the Ranji Trophy. I have been watching the IPL since the first season and was a little nervous initially when I got my first chance. But now I’m very well used to it. It’s become a sort of routine now and has got into the muscle memory.
No time to relax
I’ve had a really successful first IPL season but there’s still a long way to go. The most crucial matches will come up now in the Playoffs and it’s important to do even better in this last phase of the tournament. I hope I can continue to do well in the knockout matches as well.
The biggest lesson
The biggest thing I’ve learnt from the IPL is the importance of sticking to your basics no matter what level you play at. Instead of getting carried away with experimenting, do what you do best. It’s always your basics that will take you till the very end.
First-class cricket is the scale for judgment
I don’t think Andy Bichel would have even seen me bowling before the CSK trial. It was all due to my first-class performance. If I am standing here today it’s purely because of my first-class performance and all credit should go to Haryana Cricket Association and my state team.
Hard yards pay off
Accuracy has been my strength but I have also developed it along the way. The more competition you face, the more you need to keep improving your game. I have worked on my consistency and also my out-swinger a lot. In Haryana we work a lot on our game and fitness during the off-season and that is all helping in now in my game. Accuracy is one of them.
I have been given the role of bowling in the Power Plays. But the only instruction I was given was to stick to whatever I have been doing so far, not think too much and try to remain as blank as I can. The coach and captain told me that whatever I have done on the cricket field so far as brought me into the IPL and the same will take me forward in my career.
Adding new tricks to the trade
Out-swinger is my stock ball but with Andy BIchel I have been working on the incoming delivery. I have been working on my slower ones as well. I used to bowl them back of length but then Bichel told me how I can add variations to my slower ones as well. I’m also learning from him how to get out of jail as a bowler when the batsman is on the attack.
The cherished scalps
Two IPL wickets are very special for me. One is that of Viru paaji (Virender Sehwag). The fact that I dismissed him in both our matches against Delhi Daredevils makes it all the more special. Another very cherished wicket of mine is that of Yuvi paaji (Yuvraj Singh). These are the two wickets I won’t forget for the rest of my life.