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A diminutive figure behind the stumps, Parthiv Patel is effective in front of the woodwork as well. The 28-year old left-hand batsman who can blunt attacks without appearing as destructive as some others shares space with yet another wicketkeeper and left-hand bat, captain Kumar Sangakkarawith whom he has had a few chats on glovework.
A hardworking cricketer, Patel has been endeavoring to do his when opportunities are presented to him and has enjoyed keeping to some of the best in the business, thanks to the Indian Premier League.
In a brief interview with iplt20.com in Jaipur, Patel shared his experiences while discussing his wicket-keeping and batting. And while speaking about keeping to Sunrisers Hyderabad team-mate Dale Steyn amongst others he also said that he cherished keeping to the legendaryMuttiah Muralitharan the most.
A senior cricketer, Patel who led his state team, Gujarat to victory in the domestic T20 tournament, Syed Mushtaq Ali ahead of the Pepsi Indian Premier League 2013 also lauded the efforts of promising youngsters in the Sunrisers side, Hanuma Vihari and Ashish Reddy.
Excerpts from the interview:
On his technique and fitness
I really work on my wicket-keeping skills. I put in a lot of effort like going down the leg side stuff and taking a lot of nicks and stuff. That is probably the reason I think I am getting results on the ground. And I am someone who likes to do a lot of skill work in my practice sessions and I make sure that I put in a lot of effort.
Fitness makes a huge difference. I follow the NCA’s (National Cricket Academy) fitness regime which the trainers have been giving us, and plus on the keeping side the drills that I keep doing. So that makes the difference as well. And on your game, if you practice hard things get taken care of by themselves. So that is where I put in effort.
On keeping to Dale Steyn
It is a great experience. He is one of the best bowlers in the world. It is a great experience to keep against him. To bowl with so much of pace and to be able to swing the ball I think is incredible and keeping to him makes it a bit easier because you know he bowls a good out-swinger, the ball is going to carry and that makes it a bit easier. It is a great honour to keep to someone like him.
On whether he has kept to Waqar Younis in the nets and what it felt like
No I haven’t. He just bowled on Thursday before the game against CSK started. He bowled a few balls but yes it is always great to have someone like him around.
On having a good run coming into the IPL but not being able to score big so far and the areas he has been working on to turn things around
I think the question has an answer I have been batting well and I just need to convert them into bigger knocks. I think I am batting well, I am getting 20s and 30s it is just a matter of time before I hit it big.
On what he enjoys most - batting or wicket-keeping
Both! I have always said that I am wicketkeeper-batsman and I enjoy wicket-keeping too. It is a tough job and I feel that if you don’t enjoy it, then it gets to you. So wicket-keeping is something that I enjoy. Obviously batting is very important so when I am keeping I think I am a proper keeper and when I go to bat I think as if I am pure batsman in the side, that’s how I look at it.
On his batting and timing the shots to clear the field
That’s what my game is all about, I am not really strong like Chris Gayle or someone like Dhoni who can power hit the ball. My game is all about timing. The day when I am timing the ball that is when I get runs and that’s where I get the power as well. I work on my technique.
On the kind of exchanges has had with captain Kumar Sangakkara regarding wicket-keeping
I had a few words with him last year, haven’t had big chat this year but last year I had a good chat with him about keeping and how to prepare and other things so that has actually helped me.
On his journey so far, not reaching the peaks expected after an early start to his career
That is something which is part of the game. You have your good days and you have your bad days and unfortunately I didn’t perform as well as I would have actually. And obviously with Dhoni around it becomes a tough job to break into the Indian side. But as a player what I could do is keep working hard, keep performing and hopefully get rewarded.
On his most difficult or challenging dismissal in IPL so far
There have been quite a few. The first year when I was keeping to Muttiah Muralitharan it was a bit difficult. I have kept to Anil Kumble to Harbhajan (Singh) but keeping to Muralitharan was something special for me and I did have a good success ratio with him as well. After that, obviously keeping to Dale Steyn and Ishant Sharma. This year he has been bowling really well so there have been quite a few bowlers that I have enjoyed keeping to.
On one dismissal that stands out
The stumping down the leg-side this year of Yuvraj (Singh) off Amit Mishra, I think that is something which is very fresh.
On having worked with different franchises- how he finds Sunrisers?
I think it is a great set-up. The owners are quite down to earth and they let us play. For us the important thing is that the player gets their space to perform and that is very important and that is exactly what has been provided to us. It has only been one month and so far we have enjoyed playing and the kind of atmosphere we have been put into, I think it is great.
On the promising youngsters in the team
They are pretty talented and that is the reason that they are playing at this level, competing against best. Hanuma Vihari has had a good season so far, Ashish Reddy is one who I think can be very good finisher in one day cricket. So there are quite a few players who can make it big I guess.
On opening with Akshath Reddy
It is a bit different when you are used to opening with Brendon McCullum or Mathew Hayden or someone else. But, I think he is a youngster and had a good domestic season and he will play well again.
On the Sunrisers team and turning things around this season
I think it is a great atmosphere that has been created by the coaches around us that has made a huge difference. We have been confident and they have given us a lot of confidence. That is the reason why we have been winning a lot of close games.
This man knows a thing or two about chasing totals. In the final of the previous edition of the IPL against the Chennai Super Kings, it was a fairytale moment for Manvinder Bisla who took a packed Chepauk by surprise with his free flowing stroke play. Bisla had scored 89 off 48 then, in a run chase that not many would have given the Knights to come out trumps.
This year, with his back against the wall, and just 34 runs in his previous five outings, Bisla had a point to prove, that the opener in him was very much alive. He stitched together two crucial partnerships in KKR’s run chase of 150 against theKings XI Punjab on Friday at the Eden Gardens and led his side to a convincing six wicket victory.
In an exclusive chat with IPLT20.com, Bisla speaks about his match winning unbeaten half century and his admiration of teammate Jacques Kallis. This win should come as a relief after a series of loses isn’t it?
It was a very important victory for us. We were a bit low after three consecutive losses, but we were very positive about a comeback despite three losses. We had the belief in ourselves that we will go out there and perform today. I am glad we won and this is only the beginning of better things to come.
Personally, how crucial was this game for you to perform after disappointing scores in the previous matches?
I did not do well in the first phase of the tournament and it was important for me to get runs soon. I was disappointed with my performances in the previous games and wanted to get back my confidence in this game. It was important to get runs on the board. I went back to my basics, worked hard in the last ten days to get my game back and the hard work paid off.
How difficult is it for you to perform, especially when there is so much competition to get a chance in the playing eleven?
There is healthy competition in the side. No one is assured of a place in the side. When the coach or a captain feels that a certain player can do well in a certain kind of wicket, they give that player a chance and totally back him. It is not that a player gets one chance, does not perform and he is made to sit out. All players get a chance to perform.
Was there pressure on you when you lost your captain as early as in the second over of the match?
Gautam Gambhir is an important player for us. He is very consistent, but it is all about how the team plays at the end of the day. There are so many players in our side who can do well and are consistent. When Gambhir’s wicket fell in the very first over, we did not let ourselves down, instead we all shared the responsibility of taking our side through.
What was your plan when Yusuf Pathan followed suit off the very next ball after Gambhir’s wicket?
Losing two wickets back to back was a bit of a jolt. But the plan was to be at the wicket for the next five overs or so and steady the innings. I feel the way Jacques Kallis and Eoin Morgan played after that was brilliant. They eased pressure off me which allowed me to play freely towards the end of the chase.
Kallis is someone who tries to anchor you are more attacking. Did you make changes to your game when you were batting with Kallis?
I was playing according to the situation. I was struggling to start with and wanted to get my eye in. Kallis took pressure off my shoulders and so did Morgan later in the innings. I never felt I should play aggressively. I wanted to play through the innings and give good support to both the batsmen. Till the time both were at the crease, they were scoring at a brisk rate, which allowed me to settle down. I feel Kallis and Morgan were hitting the ball beautifully and a lot of credit should go to them to make the run chase look easy.
Last year, in the final you and Kallis chased down a total of 190 against CSK. And on Friday you brought up a crucial partnership with him. How is it batting with someone like Kallis?
I feel Kallis is a very attacking player. He has played a lot of crucial knocks for us this season and in the past as well. I am batting with Kallis for the third consecutive year. I love batting with him and enjoy the time at the crease alongside him. He keeps it simple and makes batting look easy. To watch him bat from the non-striker’s end is a delight and it gives me confidence to bat well when I am taking guard.
Do you think KKR can make it to the top four?
We are not thinking of the final four at the moment. We would like to take it one step at a time. We have not won the games we should have and made it a bit difficult for us, but the more wins we get under our belt, the better we will get and the closer we will get to the final four.