Harshal Patel might be one of the best pacers in IPL currently and is taking baby steps towards stardom in Indian cricket. He finished as the Purple Cap winner last season having registered 32 scalps to his name from 15 matches. Meanwhile, the medium-pacer is also the joint-highest wicket-taker in a single edition of the marquee tournament along with veteran Caribbean all-rounder Dwayne Bravo.
Lately, Patel has explained how he was guided by one of the finest India’s pace icons Zaheer Khan during his early days in the Indian Premier League. Recalling his IPL debut in the 2012 edition for RCB, the 31-year-old said that, Zaheer was also the pace spearhead back then with the same team and inspired him to bowl well in the T20s.
The way Zaheer Khan got people out with those knuckle balls was unbelievable to watch: Harshal Patel
“I think if I have to look at one person who sort of legitimized slower balls, it was Zaheer Khan in the 2011 World Cup. The way he got people out with those knuckle balls was unbelievable to watch. I got my education in T20 bowling from him”, said Harshal Patel on an episode of Breakfast with Champions.
“I started with RCB in 2012, when he used to be with us. He used to come up to me every single ball and tell me what to bowl. He would keep on telling me ‘Bowl length, bowl this, bowl that’. He would advise me not to bowl the slower one frequently. He used to tell me how to package it,” he added.
“I remember when we were playing in Pune and he had told me not to bowl the slower ball. I bowled a slower one to Robin Uthappa and he hit it for a six-over mid-wicket. He walked towards me and with all the other ineffable things that he would utter, he also said ‘Did I not tell you to not bowl the slower one then?’” Patel further added.
Coming back to the ongoing season, Harshal Patel has blown hot and cold with 10 wickets from eight matches averaging 22.60 and an economy rate of 7.53. He would be looking forward to making stellar contributions going forward as Bangalore hope to bounce back from two back-to-back humiliating defeats. RCB will next be seen in action against the table-toppers Gujarat Titans at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on April 30.