Sandeep Sharma, who has been making waves since early last year with his performances at the under-19 level and the 2012-13 domestic season for his state side, impressed with figures of 4-1-23-3 in a winning cause for Kings XI Punjab against the Delhi Daredevils on Thursday night.
The young pacer bowled a wicket maiden in the third over of the innings to push the visitors on the back-foot. He was on a hat-trick with the wickets of Irfan Pathan and David Warner. Thrilled to realise his dream of bowling to cricketers he grew-up watching the youngster couldn’t find words to describe the feeling. He credited skipper Adam Gilchrist’s planning and advice that helped him dismiss the batsmen.
He also mentioned that continuous inputs from Praveen Kumar, the senior India pacer with an ability to swing the ball helped through the season. The thrilling seven-run win against the Delhi Daredevils has kept the King XI Punjab in the fray for a berth in the Playoffs of the Pepsi Indian Premier League 2013.
While speaking to IPLT20.com after the match, Sharma talked about his bowling and the experience of bowling to the likes of Virender Sehwag and Mahela Jayawardene.
Excerpts from the interview:
On beating the Daredevils and staying in the competition
It feels good after winning the game and that we can still make it to the Playoffs. One match is remaining and we can still try and make it. And it also depends on the results of matches between other teams. But we are not thinking about it now. We are playing our cricket and focusing on our matches.
On whether they had enough runs on the board to defend
The 171 we got was a good total on this wicket. Gilly (Adam Gilchrist) batted really well against the new ball in the beginning. The wicket was helping the seamers but Gilly batted really well in the first six overs and after that Shaun Marsh and David Miller also batted well. So the total was perfect for the wicket and it wasn’t like we had less runs on the board.
On how the wicket helped pacers
There was a bit of seam in the wicket but it was important that we bowl in the good areas which all our bowlers did – PK bhai (Praveen Kumar), (Parvinder) Awana, Azhar bhai (Mahmood).
On having three slips for his bowling which is not seen too often in T20
Gilly did that. He is very experienced and arranged the field taking into account the wicket and my bowling. He told me to bowl the away swing to the left-hander from the off-stump.
On how he had planned for claiming the two wickets – Irfan Pathan and David Warner off consecutive deliveries
My focus was to bowl in the good areas and I got the wickets, it is my luck.
On claiming David Warner
He is an amazing batsman and to get his wicket was a good feeling.
On what the plan was for David Warner, the advice given to him based on strengths and weakness of the batter
Gilchrist is a very good captain and if you talk about strengths and weakness then the bowler’s mind gets a bit diverted. Gilchrist told me to just bowl on the off-stump and not that David Warner is playing. Just to bowl on the off-stump.
On claiming Mahela Jayawardene’s wicket at a vital moment in the game
He is a legend of cricket and to take his wicket makes me happy. I took big wickets and it was always my dream to bowl to these batsmen. I have been watching Jayawardene and Sehwag since childhood. Sehwag is my favourite player, an amazing player and to bowl to him is an amazing feeling, I can’t express it.
On whether he was nervous while bowling to Sehwag
There was no nervousness. I was enjoying it. I have grown up watching them. It was my dream to play with them, bowl to them. It has come true. I was enjoying it. There was no pressure. Even if they hit me I felt I would get to learn from that experience, how to bowl at the higher level.
On what he has learnt from Praveen Kumar
PK bhai helps me a lot. Every over, sometimes every ball he comes and tells me how to bowl, in which area to bowl so that feels good and helps me a lot.
Throughout the season he has told me about swing, position of the wrist and setting the field for the batsmen. He also has a good swing and has played a lot of cricket so he has a lot of experience and I am learning those things from him. We talk a lot and that’s helps a lot.
On any new changes or additions he has made to his bowling
No, I have been doing what I have always done. I have struck to my strengths and concentrated of them.
On the difference does he find between the U-19, India’s domestic tournaments and the IPL
I have never thought that there is a difference in the batsman or the wicket I always think that a good delivery is a good delivery whether I am bowling at the U-19 level or Ranji Trophy (India’s multi-day domestic tournament). I have to be confident and do not think about what the batsman will do and believe in my strength.