'Virat told me 'It's ok. You can fail': Harshal on Kohli's game-changing advice | Cricket - Hindustan Times

'Virat came up to me and said 'It happens. You can fail'': Harshal reveals Kohli's game-changing advice during IPL low

By, Bengaluru
Mar 14, 2022 02:07 PM IST

IPL 2022: Harshal Patel talks about playing under various captains and an advice from Virat Kohli which shot his confidence to an all-time high.

Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and now Faf du Plessis. In a span of five months, Harshal Patel will be reporting to a third captain. Harshal was fabulous under Kohli in IPL 2021, emerging as the highest-wicket taker of the season before his international career took off under Rohit. In fact, in his first three T20I matches for India, Harshal picked up two wickets each and did it without conceding much. And now, as RCB enters a new era under a new leader in Faf du Plessis, Harshal would be the cynosure of all eyes, and in a way the most scrutinised of the lot. (Also Read: Sunil Gavaskar gives his verdict on Faf du Plessis replacing Virat Kohli as RCB captain for IPL 2022)

Harshal Patel and Virat Kohli during IPL 2021 last year. (Twitter)
Harshal Patel and Virat Kohli during IPL 2021 last year. (Twitter)

Kohli and Rohit have been highly instrumental in Harshal's career. How else do you expect a bowler to come back and finish with 32 wickets in a season after he's gotten hit for 37 runs in an over? It was Kohli's endless backing of Harshal that offered the pacer a second wind. Fast forward to January… and this time around, it's Rohit's sharp captaincy acumen which gives Harshal the platform to emerge as a star. With West Indies needing 31 to win off 12 balls at the Eden Gardens, Harshal produces an eight-run over, in which he dismisses the dangerous Romario Shepherd, who had muscled his way to 29 of 20 balls having crunched three sixes. Only one boundary in the over and suddenly, India are the favourites, and they seal the series 3-0.

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Harshal couldn't have asked for two better captains for his IPL and India career to boom. And with du Plessis, who on Saturday was officially named RCB's captain, he expects pretty much the same. The franchise opted not to retain Harshal, despite having a slot empty for reasons that were revealed later – they held back Kohli, Mohammed Siraj and Glenn Maxwell – but once the bidding war began for the 31-year-old quick, it was evident that RCB wanted him back. From a base price of 2 crore, Harshal saw his price go up by five times before RCB inked the deal for 10.75 crore. As Harshal returns to RCB, he is keen on striking a fresh chord with du Plessis.

"I have been lucky in the sense that be in Rohit or Virat, they have been very open, very generous in the freedom that they have allowed me to express myself and my skill. At no point have they told me that this is what you have to do and they have always given me that option, told me that 'you know your game and what to do in each and every situation. You're not going to be successful all the time but we are going to back you nevertheless.' So that is the confidence I'm sure Faf too is going to show in me and that makes my job a little easier to deal with different captains," Harshal told Hindustan Times during the RCB Unbox event in Bengaluru.

Dwayne Bravo's tally of 32 IPL wickets in a season stood tall for eight years before it was matches by Harshal. And while Harshal deserved every ounce of credit for winning the Purple Cap, he understands it wouldn't have been possible had Kohli not backed him to the hilt. Harshal entered the CSK tie in April on the high of a five-wicket-haul in the previous game, but the happiness was short-lived. Ravindra Jadeja unleashed a brutal assault on Harshal, smacking him for 37 in the final over of the innings at the Wankhede. He got creamed for five sixes and one four, and top it off, bowled a no-ball. As nightmarish as that over was, had it not been for Kohli’s advice, Harshal might have struggled to lift himself up from the abyss.

"After I got hit for 37 in that CSK game, Virat came up to me and said 'You brought us back into the game by picking up three wickets in the last three overs. You got hit for 37… it happens. You put yourself in difficult situations, you can fail. But if you don't put yourself there, you are never going to be a valuable player'," mentioned Harshal.

"So yes, he understands that aspect of pressure situations, that it can sometimes cause failures. And he has been very supportive of it. Even after that, when I have done well or haven't, he has been pretty consistent in his approach. So those are the things that are a sign of a great leader and he will continue to be a great leader."

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    Aditya Bhattacharya is an experienced online sports journalist with a forte in cricket. He has covered the 2016 ICC World T20 in India, the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in England along with several Ranji Trophy and Vijay Hazare tournaments across the country. When not working, Aditya can be found either hooked to the PlayStation or sharpening the chords on a guitar, while straddling binge-watching and shadow-practicing like Ajay Devgn on two bikes.

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