In this day and age of high-powered gym workouts, controlled diets and psychological training, Kolkata Knight Riders' left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdulla has a simple route to success - just go out on the field and bowl.
With the likes of Aussie pace ace Brett Lee in their ranks, KKR's bowling
unit is not short on firepower. However, it's been the guile of their spinners, led by Abdulla, which has led to the undoing of many of their opponents this season.
The 21-year-old Mumbai lad credits his success this season - he's KKR's leading bowler with 16 wickets at an economy rate of six runs per over - to sticking to the basics.
"I have a simple philosophy - the only way to become a better bowler is by bowling. Although I must admit the time I've spent with (Ranji Trophy teammate) Ramesh Powar discussing the finer points of spin have stood me in good stead," Abdulla told HT.
He has slowly worked into becoming an integral member of Mumbai's Ranji Trophy squad. However, there are no divided loyalties representing his adopted city in his hometown, against many of his Ranji teammates.
"If anything I'm more excited to be playing here. Everyone wants to do well in their home city, I'm no different. Many of the Mumbai Indians players are great friends of mine, but on the field I have just one aim - to help my team win."
Alongwith big-hitting Yusuf Pathan, who has made up for his relatively quiet time with the bat with his economical bowling, and Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, Abdulla has formed a lethal spin troika.
At the Wankhede, where the pitch offers purchase to the spinners, the trio will have a very important role, feels Abdulla. "I will only see the pitch tomorrow, but if there's a possibility of it assisting spinners, the captain and coach could go in with three spinners."
Pathan and Shakib's exploits with the bat are well known. The former has been India's most explosive ODI batsman over the past year, while the latter has five ODI tons to his credit.
Keen to keep pace, Abdulla, who struck his maiden first-class ton in the Ranji Trophy last season, has improved his batting with a little help from one of his opponents on Wednesday - Tendulkar. "Last season I spent time with Sachin, watching him bat and getting tips. I think that's the reason for my improved batting over the past six months."
© Copyright © 2013 HT Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.