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Anand Subramaniam in Delhi 23 May 2013 - 03:51am IST

I was nervous before my first ball: Malik

RR medium pacer thanks RR management for the opportunities

Brad Hodge might have stolen all the limelight with his fiery batting that took the Royals to a thrilling four-wicket victory against the Sunrisers Hyderabad, but one of the notable performances that should not be given a miss is that of medium-pacer Vikramjeet Malik. Malik, who plays for Himachal Pradesh and was scouted by the Rajasthan Royals before the start of the tournament has not been a regular fixture for the franchise. But given the day, given the moment and thrown the ball to, Malik did not disappoint.

“I got a hint that I would play the match against SRH a day before and was asked to be ready for the game,” Malik said, as he spoke to
IPLT20.com.

“It was only on Wednesday that
Rahul Dravid confirmed the decision after looking at the pitch. Rahul bhai and Shane Watson motivated me before the game and asked me to stick to my basics,” added Malik. Before playing against the Sunrisers, Malik featured in just one game which was against the Chennai Super Kings. Malik said he felt like a kid who warmed the bench for most part of the season, and felt like it even when he got a chance to play. “When I played against Chennai Super Kings in my first game this year, I felt like a newbie. It felt as if I was back in 2009 when I first played for the Kings XI Punjab, but the feeling got better when I got a game playing for Rajasthan Royals this year and I am happy I performed well against SRH.”

Having said that he felt like a newbie, when asked if he was confident of a good show coming into a crucial game, Malik said he was more nervous but at the same time confident. “I was nervous before bowling the first ball of the match. I got a chance to play a match after a long gap and I decided to bowl according to my strength and not try anything fancy. I did not get any wickets in the lone game I played before this match, but I had bowled well which gave me the confidence to perform well in the big game.”

Malik bowled three overs in the game and got two early wickets, that of
Parthiv Patel and Hanuma Vihari which put SRH straightaway on the back-foot. By getting two quick wickets in his very first spell, Malik’s job was done. “My main job was to give my team a good start with the ball. I told myself, that if the captain gave me the ball it was my responsibility not to disappoint my captain. I am glad I lived up to the expectations and picked two crucial wickets up front.”

When asked why the Royals did not complete his full quota of four overs even after such a good spell of bowling, Malik said, “There were other bowlers in the team who had bowled well throughout the tournament. They had more experience of bowling under certain circumstances and that could be the reason why I was held back. My job was done the moment I gave my side a good start.”

Malik who has the experience of 65 first class games and over 250 wickets to his name thanked the Rajasthan Royals management for the chance to play in the IPL. “I owe a lot of credit to the Rajasthan Royals. They had seen me perform in the domestic competitions and backed me for my skills. I have had a decent run this year in the domestic circuit and I was asked by the management to play to the best of my ability.”

Malik has represented the Kings XI Punjab before joining the Royals and described the whole IPL journey as a learning experience as he said, “Brett Lee has helped me when we were both with Kings XI Punjab. I have always loved fast bowling and it is great to have pacers like Shaun Tait in the side wherein everyday you get to learn a lot.”

Malik also found inspiration in Glenn McGrath and said he had learnt a lot watching the Aussie legend play. “Glenn McGrath has been my biggest inspiration. I have learnt a lot from watching him on TV. Over the years there have been fast bowlers like Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram who have been great bowlers, but McGrath has inspired me the most.”

Up next, the Royals face Mumbai Indians and Malik vowed not to disappoint. I am not sure if I will get a chance to play in the next game, but if I do I will make sure that I put up a good performance for my captain and my side.”

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