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When Wayne Parnell made his ODI debut, he was still in his teens. He was lean, quick and was considered to be one of the biggest prospects in the pace department for South Africa. Since then, Parnell has had a rollercoaster journey. Like many fast bowlers, he has been marred by inconsistency and injuries that kept him out of cricket. He made his Test debut in 2010, only to don the whites again four years later.
Parnell insists he has matured with time, has battled the tide of the past and plans to keep a steady head on his shoulders. He claims that he is enjoying his stint with his new IPL franchise – Delhi Daredevils – where players play for the ‘badge’ rather than playing for themselves. After his economical spell against Mumbai Indians on Sunday, the fast bowler was kind enough to chat with IPLT20.com. Here, Parnell talks about bowling patterns in the Delhi Daredevils, his conversations with fellow pacers, Jaydev Unadkat and Mohammed Shami, and the calmness their captain Kevin Pietersen brings to the dressing room.
Excerpts from his interview:
The team would be happy to end the UAE leg on a high.
It is nice to get some momentum going in to India. I feel we have been playing really good cricket over the past few games. Most of our losses in the tournament have been close, barring the game against Chennai Super Kings where we were outplayed.
What kind of chats do you have with your fast bowling partners, Mohammed Shami and Jaydev Unadkat?
I was actually speaking to one of the owners the other day. He mentioned to me that the Delhi Daredevils play for the badge and not for themselves. As a collective bowling unit, we share information. We feel that the information sharing between bowlers is vital because you have a mix of international players and local Indian players playing in the opposition. The constant sharing of information between us helps us perform well as a unit.
Are there different roles for different bowlers in the Daredevils bowling line-up?
We do what the captain needs from us. We haven’t really got a set pattern to our bowling. Most teams have certain bowlers bowling in certain areas. Usually, I have bowled in the powerplays and then bowled towards the back-end of the game. In the last two games, I have mixed it up and bowled in both situations and also in the middle overs, which is something different for me. It is all about executing those different roles for me and the other bowlers, which will augur well for the team.
How is it bowling under Kevin Pietersen’s captaincy?
It is wonderful. Kevin Pietersen brings his own energy to the team and his calmness rubs off on the other players. If you have a calm captain, you have a calm team as well. Having confidence helps you and having the backing of the support staff and the captain is massive for any cricketer. Everyone wants to be backed by the leaders, and I feel I have that backing.
You have a reputation of bowling quick. What is the reason behind you bowling slower these days?
I was speaking to Gary Kirsten earlier regarding the pace I have to bowl. Normally, I bowl close to 130-140 kph, but today on this surface, it was crucial to take the pace off the ball rather than getting more pace on the ball. Even if you are bowling fast, you have to be smart enough to realise that it might not be the best option. I bowled 90 percent slower balls, which I am not quite used to doing, but it obviously worked.
Fast bowlers are bowling slower and the spinners are bowling faster. Is this due to the nature of the T20 format?
The batsmen have become really good over the past couple of seasons. You have to be a clever bowler in this format of the game, and I have realised it will help you. I feel assessing the wicket is the most important asset, and if you can use that well, you will do well.
You have been through a lot of ups and downs in your international career. Have you matured with time?
Over the last 12 to 16 months, after being out of the national team, I went back to domestic cricket and put up some decent performances to get back into the South African side. I have also learnt to wait for my chances and do well for the team when I do get a chance. You have the likes of Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn in the pace attack for South Africa, and for me as a young guy, I have to hang in there and perform well when I am required.
Before he sustained the toe infection, Mitchell Johnson was riding the highest high of his career, demolishing batting line-ups for fun with venomous speed and surgical accuracy. He won Australia the Ashes and brought South Africa on their knees.
The Pepsi IPL was soon approaching and Johnson was still recovering from the infected toe. After a couple of subdued performances, the Australian speedster was back in his elements as KXIP defended a modest 132 against KKR to win their fourth match in a row.
Johnson opened the bowling with the intent of a predator, making the batsmen hop and skip off his sharp short balls. He created the pressure off which the likes of Sandeep Sharma and Akshar Patel fed. In the end, he returned, like a showstopper and rattled the stumps of two KKR tailenders. It weren’t the wickets that were as important as the fire in his eyes and the passion in his roar during his spell of 4-0-22-2.
After the win, Johnson spoke to iplt20.com and he sounded a very proud, motivated and confident man.
Here are excerpts from his interview:
Is it safe to say now that KXIP are the most balanced side in this IPL?
I remember sitting around with the Australian team on our tour to South Africa, watching the IPL auction. When it came to an end, I actually said that this seems like a very well-balanced and all-round side. It seems to be going on that way for us at the moment. We’ve had some very good wins and tonight’s was one of the better ones. On that Abu Dhabi wicket, I think we pretty much got a par score and it was always going to be tough batting second on it. We’ve been sticking to our guns and have been going really well.
Did your role differ in today’s match? You seemed to be concentrating on creating pressure with bouncers.
Yes, I’ve started the tournament quite slowly, coming back from my toe infection and it has taken me a few games to get into it. Probably the best I felt with my bowling was during the training yesterday; I felt like I am in my cricket mode again. Today I felt I was back to bowling like I had been bowling for the past few months. That’s where I wanted to get to – bowling as aggressively as I was a few days ago.
Was it a mental ploy to deny Gautam Gambhir his first run, given he was coming in with three ducks in a row?
Yes, I have played a fair bit against him and I’ve always enjoyed bowling to him. If you get the ball to move away from him just a little bit, you’re in the game. He is a very good player and it is important to keep the good players out of the game as much as possible. I didn’t have to bowl too much to him today because our bowlers were exceptional tonight.
Have you undertaken a bit of leadership role as the most successful international bowler at KXIP?
Yes, that is something I had thought about doing before coming here and I spoke to the team about taking up that role as a senior international player. These young guys coming through are willing to learn and are very good listeners. I remember what I was like when I was their age – you look up to the senior guys for a bit of advice. Sandeep (Sharma) went for a couple of boundaries in his last over (18th of the innings) and I told him, ‘Just keep sticking to your guns’ because that’s how you learn to overcome situations. If I can keep helping the young guys, we will keep winning like this.
Do express pacers like you even care about the strategy of taking the pace off the ball and stuff?
We definitely do. When we are bowling second, like we did today, it is a good opportunity to learn from our batting and their bowling in the first innings and use it to our advantage. For instance, after the first innings, we heard what Mitchell Starc thought about the wicket and how he tried to bowl. He did pretty well and that gave us that much more idea.
How does the use and purpose of a bouncer change in T20?
Since you are allowed only one bouncer per over in the T20s, you have to be careful. I still try to use it to get the batsmen thinking on their feet and let them know they’re not going to always get balls on the half. It’s more about mind games in the T20 format. Overall, you can still bowl a good short ball at the ribs and get the desired result. Guys will go for more attacking shots off short balls in this format and that makes it an interesting delivery to bowl. It makes the contest between the bat and the ball more enjoyable.