Playing in only his second game of the Indian Premier League, Mohit Sharma played a vital role in Chennai Super Kings’ thumping victory over the Delhi Daredevils. Watched by his family, who had travelled from Faridabad, the young pacer claimed the Delhi Daredevils’ top order to put his team firmly in the driver’s seat.
A visibly pleased Sharma, who is yet to get accustomed to the aura and the fan following of the IPL, also signed a few autographs after his superb performance.
In an interview with iplt20.com, the pacer spoke about performing on the grand stage and learning from international stars. The youngster, who was included in the franchise on the back of a successful domestic season, sent back David Warner, Manpreet Juneja and Virender Sehwag at the Feroz Shah Kotla to rock the home team on the back foot. Although he was a bit nervous ahead of the match, Sharma says that the support of his team helped him come off with flying colours in the game.
Excerpts from his post-game interview:
On whether he felt nervous while bowling to the likes of David Warner, Virender Sehwag and Mahela Jayawardene
I was a little bit nervous before the match, but once I went on the field everyone had told me not to think about who is in front of you and who is not. Whoever was there, I had to bowl. So I did not think too much about who is there (and followed Suresh Raina’s advice). Raina Bhai had told me to just focus on my bowling. He had told me not to think of how I will bowl the entire over or how I will bowl my quota of four overs, but to just think of the one delivery that I will be bowling at that point. So I bowled thinking about only one delivery at a time and that probably worked for me.
On bowling the first ball wide
Exactly opposite of what I do happened there. I am an outswinger, (but) that delivery was an inswinger. But I didn’t feel very nervous because everyone was very supportive. If someone speaks against (is very critical), then one feels very nervous. But there was no such thing and everything went well. So, I did not feel nervous.
On what it felt like to claim David Warner as his first wicket
I felt really good. David Warner is a big player.
On whether he had planned for the DD openers
Coach Stephen Fleming and Andy Bichel who is our bowling coach had told me that the wicket is a bit slow and low so not to think too much but bowl wicket to wicket. And that is what happened to David Warner. He slashed and played on. Because the wicket was slow (the ball stayed low), he was bowled.
On whether his prior experience of playing at the Kotla helped
What I knew about the wicket happened today. The wicket has usually played a bit slow and low and the same thing happened here today. The plan is not to try too much, go for slight change of pace and not bowl too fast.
On his bowling
I am not the kind of bowler who experiments a lot. I don’t believe in experimenting too much. Only if things are going against me too much, then I try and experiment. Otherwise I believe in sticking to my line. That is my strength, so I will work on that. I bowl on a spot. And I focus on my strengths.
On learning from international bowlers like Dirk Nannes, who is also impressed with him
I get to learn a lot from all these players. Dirk Nannes, Andy Bichel and the other fast bowlers – they keep telling me where I am going wrong and what I can do to improve, like increase my speed and have a better body balance. I never feel that I am playing with international players on the field or off the field. I always feel like there is a big brother. There is never any communication gap. If they feel I don’t understand what they are explaining, they make it easier for me by explaining it to me in cricketing terms.
On advice that has helped
I have become more disciplined in my bowling because they also told me that I don’t need to try too many things and just keep working on what I am already doing and focus on it.
On whether he has played against Sehwag before
I have played against him twice and he has hit me for runs. I didn’t think too much, and like we had discussed and since he is a compulsive puller, we decided to bowl him a short ball and what we did paid off.
On playing under MS Dhoni
It is probably the best period of my life that I am playing under his leadership. He never puts any sort of pressure on you. He always motivates you. No matter what the conditions are, he never puts any pressure on you. I have never met anyone more positive.
On the crowd and the aura of the IPL
In the first match, yes it was a bit overwhelming, but then slowly I now am getting used to it; but not completely. When the crowd says some things, I sometimes turn around and look back and am not able to see MS’ signs. So that’s a bit of a problem. I will get used to it and get over it.