Mohit’s aggression is infectious: Sandeep Sharma

The Kings XI Punjab opening bowling duo speak about bowling in tandem and bowling to Maxwell & Miller in the nets

Vizag 14 May 2016
The two Sharmas in the KXIP bowling attack – Mohit and Sandeep – have given the meaning of pace-attack a new dimension. The swinging deliveries of Sandeep Sharma, and the sheer accuracy and cunning variations of Mohit Sharma have had the batsmen worrying about being set-up rather than just being foxed.

Making it almost impossible to score off them, the duo brought run-scoring to a stand-still against Mumbai Indians at Visakhapatnam, forcing batsmen to make mistakes and lose their precious wickets.

IPLT20.COM caught up with the duo after they powered KXIP to a seven-wicket win over defending champions Mumbai Indians.

Excerpts from the interview:

Mohit, what was the specific plan against Mumbai Indians during the powerplay and death overs?

It was a slow track and we knew that the ball wouldn’t come on the bat easily. The plan was to not give any width to the delivery - be it in slog overs or with the new ball. We did manage to execute it. Sandeep bowled brilliantly and we both had a good partnership with the new ball.

Sandeep, you troubled batsmen with your swing upfront. Tell us about your bowling today?

When I started, the very first delivery did swing well which gave me a fair idea that the ball would swing on this track. My plan was to give less width to the ball and keep executing it in each delivery. After that the way Marcus Stoinis and Mohit bhai bowled, it became easier for me and was of great help.

Sandeep, you are bowling with Mohit for the first time this season. Tell us a few things that you have picked up from his bowling?

His aggression and the way he bowls each delivery with the same amount of effort are a couple of things that come to my mind. And the most important thing is his slower ball – I would really want to learn from him, since it is a wicket-taking delivery. I do pay a lot of attention when he bowls those slower deliveries and will definitely try and inculcate the same in my bowling, next season.

Mohit, will you be teaching him the slower delivery in the next net session?

(Laughs) Definitely.

Mohit, bowling in death overs can make or break a game. Tell us more about the planning that goes behind enhancing death-bowling skills?

I think in the limited overs format, death bowling is the key, because if you are bowling in a T20, in death overs, the economy rate of a bowler takes a beating. Basically, the format demands that you cannot be predictable with your deliveries. Then, how you set up the field and the support you get from your Captain. In that context, we are extremely lucky to have Murali Vijay as our captain, as he lets us decide the field placement. So, death bowling is basically about not being predictable and mixing-up deliveries to surprise the batsmen.

Mohit, since you are leading the bowling attack for Kings XI Punjab, tell us how do you plan as a unit for a specific batsman and a team as a whole?

Whenever we plan, we plan against the entire team and not against a specific batsmen and that is something that I like about our bowling unit. We like to provide each other with good bowling partnerships. If Sandy has bowled a good over, I will try and keep up the momentum, but if I haven’t bowled a good over, Stoinis knows that he has to bowl the next over brilliantly.

Sandeep, you have been with Kings XI Punjab for a few years now. With ups and downs in team’s performances, tell us how much impact does it have on you as an individual?

This is my fourth year with Kings XI Punjab and they gave me the breakthrough which is why I am very emotionally attached with the franchise. It is difficult to be consistent in a T20 format and there have been ups and downs in my bowling, but with people like Hashim Amla and Mitchell Johnson, I have learnt to stay calm after giving a bad performance and not get too excited after doing well on the ground. Batsmen come hard on a bowler in this format, so it is important to leave the past behind and concentrate on the next game.

Who is the most tough batsmen you bowl to in the nets?

Sandeep: The hardest batsman for me is (Glenn) Maxwell, because when I practice yorkers and other variations, he plays it reverse and that is his art.

Mohit: I feel that the M factor in Kings XI Punjab – Maxwell and Miller - are not only dangerous to the opponent, but also are tough for us to bowl at in the nets.
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