'I asked him how to reduce the big overs': Harshal Patel explains how AB de Villiers had 'massive impact' on his career
After bagging the prestigious Purple Cap in the latest edition of the Indian Premier League, Harshal Patel made an instant impact in his Team India debut. The seamer, who burst into the international circuit in the second T20I between India and New Zealand in Ranchi, scalped a couple of wickets in his four-over quota, which also included a six-run penultimate over by him.
Harshal's efforts saw New Zealand struggle to fetch runs in the death overs, as they could only pile 153/6 in 20 overs. He was also named player of the match for his effort.
After his match-winning performance, Harshal spoke about how his former Royal Challengers Bangalore teammate AB de Villiers helped him improve as a bowler. The 30-year-old, who claimed himself to be "a silent observer" of the ex-Proteas cricketer, recalled AB's suggestions on not varying with the length if he considered it to be a good delivery. The seamer further stated that the former South Africa international had instructed him to force the batter to play those deliveries.
"I think AB has had a massive impact on my career. I’ve always been a silent observer of him. Before we started UAE leg (in IPL 2021), I asked him how to reduce the big overs where I went for 15-20 runs in IPL. He told me, 'when batsmen hit you on the good deliveries, you shouldn’t change that. Force the batsman constantly to hit the good deliveries. When you are hit on a good delivery and you change in the next delivery, the batsman would have been expecting it. I changed that. And it stayed with me in the 2nd leg of the IPL," Harshal Patel said in the post-match press conference on Friday.
Harshal scalped 32 wickets in the 15 matches he played in the last edition of IPL, which was played in two phases due to Covid-19 cases emerging inside the bio-bubble. His feat also saw him become the joint-most wicket-taker in a single edition of IPL alongside former West Indies cricketer Dwayne Bravo.
Meanwhile, De Villiers announced retirement from all forms of cricket on Friday, which brought an end to his decade long association with the Royal Challengers Bangalore.