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Brought up in a village near Noida in Uttar Pradesh, Parvinder Awana slogged it out in the domestic circuit before getting an opportunity to display his skills in the Indian Premier League. Playing for the Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2012, the humble fast bowler has impressed his teammates and coaches, and he hopes to make the most of this opportunity and make his presence felt.
The IPL is yet another chance for this pacer to make his dream to play for the national team come true.
After practicing at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, the pacer spoke to iplt20.com about his journey so far and his passion for bowling.
On his good form and fast bowling
I am enjoying bowling here. I have performed very well in the Ranji Trophy and I have taken good wickets in four-day format as well as the one-day format. I have played a lot at [Feroz Shah] Kotla where the pitch doesn’t have much to offer. There are flat tracks like that in the IPL too. I play for ONGC as well, and I have played a lot in the hot summers in other tournaments. And that has helped me play now.
On how fast bowlers get motivated and work on bowling on wickets that might not aid them much
If one wants to bowl fast, he will regardless of whether the wicket is flat or has grass on it. I think you can bowl well on a flat track as well, because where there is a dry wicket, I bowl with all my strength and hit hard. I do that otherwise too, but I am able to bowl better on flat tracks. On whether he focuses on movement or pace
It depends on the wicket. If the ball is new, then swing and pace both should be there. And once the ball becomes old, one can bowl the reverse ball; [...] then you have to put in extra efforts. You have to use different variations like yorkers, bouncers, etc if the wicket is flat.
On how he plans his four overs in an IPL game
If the wicket is helpful, then it is better to focus on the length of the ball. I have seen that as long as I stick to bowling at the right length, it is more effective. If the batsman is hitting you for runs, then you have to vary your deliveries. You can bowl outside the off stump or bouncers, yorkers and slower ones.
On getting reverse swing
In Delhi and most places in India, the wickets are flat, so if there is no grass on the ground, the ball is ready for reverse swing sooner. [...] I have pace, so if I can get reverse swing, then that is even better. If [I] can get both, then it is very effective.
On working on his fitness
One team is equivalent to a fast bowler. So the fast bowler will go back from practice and do stretching, sleep early and eat well, and then, train separately for bowling.
On his health
Last year, I had hurt my ribs while playing against Mumbai [Indians], but I have recovered well and trained. I try and take whatever I can from wherever I can.
On the KXIP bowling coach Joe Dawes
Sometimes, when I try to put in too much effort, my movement is not right. He then tells me that my movement should go straight. Sometimes you don’t realise [if you are going wrong] when you are putting in too much effort. But he focuses on things and works on it with me. We have been working on my run-up as well, and will continue to do so.
On playing in the IPL
I have got the IPL as a reward for my efforts over the last eight-nine years. I waited for four years after becoming a pacer. I played in the Ranji Trophy in 2007-08. I had performed well in the interim period. I was in the probables [for the Delhi Ranji Trophy team] and when one of our fast-bowlers got injured, I was called to play by Viru bhai [Virender Sehwag]. He gave an opportunity to play, and that was the year we [Delhi] won the Ranji Trophy. So the following year too I got an opportunity and I become the highest wicket-taker for Delhi with 28 wickets from six matches. And then, the year after that, I took 29 wickets. I had a few ups and downs in my fourth season due to injuries. This year, I again had a good season.
When I reflect [on it], sometimes I feel this is my last chance [to make a mark]. I am 25-26 years old now. Everyone dreams of playing for the country and so do I. If it doesn’t happen now, it might not happen. When I go to the ground, all I see is the wicket and nothing else. On whether he focuses on getting wickets or bowling dot balls
I try to take wickets because if you get early wickets, that will help. If you try to be defensive, then you will be hit and you won’t get wickets either. One has to bowl depending on the team’s needs. If you have the ball in your hand at the start of the innings, then you should go for wickets as you are also the team’s main bowler. If you don’t, then the opposition will pile runs. Whether you get wickets or not you should try for that first; you should attack. Then there is a stage in the game when a batsman is set and there isn’t much in the wicket, then you should try variations in your bowling.
On success and motivation
It is a good thing and feels good. We have given our lives to this. My childhood has gone in this. My friend circle is reduced and I am rarely at home. My family also misses me. I am away from home and they too have worked hard for me. I motivate myself looking at them and the effort that they have put in for me and focus on my performance.
The kind of heroes a person chooses has a huge impact on his life. And the day your name is mentioned in the same breath as your hero, you've bridged the gap between dream and reality. For MS Dhoni, that day came after he played his fifth match for India. No sooner did he butcher the Pakistani bowlers on a sweltering April day in Vizag to score a 123-ball 148, the cricketing world started to hail him as the next Adam Gilchrist.
Dhoni dedicated his maiden ODI century to Gilchrist, and a few years later, one got to know the respect was mutual. “The best compliment for me is when someone says they’ll pay to watch me play,” Gilchrist said. “And I can say that I’ll pay to watch MS Dhoni bat.” Four years have elapsed since the world’s best wicketkeeper-batsman made that statement, and the respect has only grown.
Currently in India to lead Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2012, Gilchrist spared quality time to talk about the man and the cricketer he so admires. Responding to all the comparisons between him and Dhoni, Gilchrist said, “MS is not the next Gilchrist. He’s the first MS Dhoni”.
Here’s more on what the legend had to say about Indian cricket’s most inspirational leader. A maverick, a genius
I am extremely impressed with him as a cricketer. From what I can see, he has always been courteous, friendly and a warm person. His calmness is his greatest asset amongst fine skills, great power and so on. It’s a difficult job to keep full-time in the subcontinent alongside batting and captaining the side. I think he has done a remarkable job. Everything he adds in different aspects of the game makes him a wonderful package for a cricket team. He seems to me like a very calculative and a smart cricketer who knows what he can do but doesn’t necessarily plan it all the time. He reacts to whatever happens in front of him. Of the current lot, Dhoni is my favourite wicketkeeper-batsman.
‘Keeper of faith
A lot has been spoken about his keeping and people say that there are potentially better wicketkeepers in India, which I am not sure about. For me, MS does a terrific job behind the stumps. I believe he is not a huge trainer when it comes to his wicketkeeping. I have been told that he does very limited wicketkeeping drills and practice, and that’s really interesting. I have seen him at a constantly acceptable level and haven’t seen him making blunders that have cost his team. A mix of fire and ice
His biggest strength in batting is his power. He hits the ball with great power and can dispatch a very good delivery out of the ground. The helicopter shot that he plays, is very unique and difficult to play. He seems to have taken a more mature and a stable approach of finishing the games. He can change his game in the last five overs knowing that no ground is big enough for him. He can clear the rope five or six times in the final overs, and all of a sudden the target becomes easy.
His bane in Test cricket
He is perhaps in two minds on which way to go in Test cricket. I would love to see him play his natural game, which is full of aggression and flair. He should just feel confident and go out and play his natural game. That’s where you can see match-changing innings from such players batting at seven. He comes after a star-studded batting line-up, and he shouldn’t feel responsible if they don’t perform.
A man of his own
I have been told earlier about him dedicating his first century to me and that really is nice. I feel thrilled to hear such a thing from any cricketer. He is very much his own man as far as I can see. The manner through which he came into the limelight was lighting fast. He very quickly formed his own personality and his own style. He’s completely different from me. He is not a great believer in training too hard. I, on the other hand, had to and wanted to prepare excessively before each game. He’s great at finishing the games in the limited overs format and I often batted up the order. He can adapt his game according to the situation – playing anchor or aggressor. I don’t see any kind of similarity between me and him. He is not the second Adam Gilchrist; he’s the first MS Dhoni.