‘Went unsold two years back, every game is a bonus now’: Sandeep Sharma after destroying MI with 5/18 in IPL 2024 | Crickit

‘Went unsold two years back, every game is a bonus now’: Sandeep Sharma after destroying MI with 5/18 in IPL 2024

Apr 23, 2024 02:33 PM IST

Sandeep Sharma, who went unsold before last IPL's auction, destroyed MI with 5/18 in Jaipur.

Sandeep Sharma's story in IPL 2024 is one of resilience and redemption. Returning from a month-long injury, the Rajasthan Royals pacer silenced the Mumbai Indians' batting order with a career-defining spell in an IPL 2024 match at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur. His fiery 5-wicket haul for just 18 runs, the best of the season so far, left the visitors breathless.

Rajasthan Royals' Sandeep Sharma, second left, celebrates the dismissal of Mumbai Indians' Suryakumar Yadav(AP)
Rajasthan Royals' Sandeep Sharma, second left, celebrates the dismissal of Mumbai Indians' Suryakumar Yadav(AP)

After going unsold in the auctions before last year's edition, the pacer found himself on the sidelines, his future uncertain. As fate would have it, Sandeep Sharma's fortunes took a turn when he was called in as a replacement for the injured Prasidh Krishna before the season began. This opportunity marked the beginning of a remarkable resurgence for Sandeep, as he grabbed the chance with both hands and made a significant impact with his bowling prowess.

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Sandeep's performance in the IPL since then has been nothing short of exceptional. His ability to bowl cutters and execute variations with precision has made him a vital asset for his team, especially in the challenging final overs where bowlers often come under immense pressure.

On Monday against MI, he displayed an outstanding performance after returning to the RR playing XI after recovering from a side strain. “Got fit the day before yesterday. So first game after fitness,” he said in the post-match presentation.

Making a comeback is nothing new for the 30-year-old, who treats every match as his last. “Two years back I went unsold and came as a replacement, so every game I am taking as a bonus,” he said.

He has built a reputation as a giant slayer. In the IPL, Sharma boasts the most dismissals of Virat Kohli (7 in 15) and has troubled other big names: Rohit Sharma (avg. 7.60, 5 dismissals in 12), Suryakumar Yadav (avg. 8.25, 4 dismissals in 8), and Chris Gayle (strike rate 103.22).

Sharma, who started off as a new-ball exponent in the IPL, has been tasked to bowl the death overs by the Royals in the three games that he has played this season.

Sandeep has developed a big heart for bowling at death

"Even today you ask me where I feel comfortable, I'll say it's with the new ball. With the old ball, you have to adapt and evolve as a bowler," he said.

He took three wickets in the final over, restricting MI to 179 despite a 99-run stand between Varma and Nehal Wadhera.

"If you're bowling at the death, it can go both ways. Sometimes, you go for runs, and when you're lucky enough you end up getting a wicket. When we started, the wicket was low and slow. My plan was to keep bowling those cutters and it came off nicely tonight." he said.

"I am thrilled for him because I know the work that he does behind the scenes," Tom Moody, Sandeep's former coach at SRH, said on ESPNcricinfo's TimeOut show. "He very much likes to be a part of it, likes to be in action, and he backs himself in any situation. That's why it hasn't really come as a huge surprise to me that he has adapted and bowled well as a death bowler for Rajasthan, which was unheard of, really.

Sandeep Sharma's journey is an inspiration for all aspiring cricketers. It highlights the importance of perseverance and staying prepared. Even when overlooked, the hunger to perform and the ability to grab opportunities when they arise are what truly set someone apart. This comeback story is a testament to Sharma's dedication to the sport.

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