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Harshal Patel’s unusual success mantra: Lateral flexion, realising his limitations

Harshal
made
his
international
debut
late,
just
four
days
shy
of
turning
31.

But
the
Royal
Challengers
Bangalore
pacer
picked
up
from
where
he
left
in
his
record-breaking
IPL
2021
season
and
returned
with
impressive
figures
of
2
for
25
in
the
second
T20I
against
New
Zealand,
which
India
won
by
seven
wickets
to
take
an
unassailable
2-0
lead
in
the
three-match
series.

“I
knew
that
I
could
play
at
the
highest
level.
I
could
do
well
at
the
highest
level
with
the
ball
and
with
the
bat
as
well,”
Harshal
said
in
the
post-match
virtual
media
conference
here.

“I
was
driven
constantly
to
get
better
and
actualise
that
potential.
I
never
at
any
moment
felt
that
the
dream
is
sort
of
running
away
from
me.”

After
taking
23
wickets
at
an
impressive
average
of
11
in
the
2008-09
U-19
Vinoo
Mankad
Trophy,
Harshal
made
his
senior
debut
for
Gujarat
in
the
same
season
in
List
A
cricket.

He
also
played
for
India
in
the
2010
Under-19
World
Cup
in
New
Zealand
and
bagged
an
IPL
contract
with
Mumbai
Indians.

But
it
took
him
sometime
to
play
Ranji
Trophy
as
he
could
not
find
a
place
in
his
home
state
Gujarat.
He
then
shifted
to
Haryana
from
where
his
journey
started
in
Ranji
Trophy
2011-12
season,
where
he
pocketed
28
wickets
to
be
picked
up
by
RCB.

Against
New
Zealand
in
the
second
T20I
here
on
Friday,
Harshal
took
the
wickets
of
a
well-settled
Daryl
Mitchell
and
Glenn
Phillips
in
the
crucial
middle
overs
when
the
Kiwis
were
looking
to
capitalise
on
the
explosive
start.

He
was
seen
using
the
crease
well,
creating
angles
and
also
was
smart
with
his
slower
ball
that
had
given
him
a
dream
IPL
2021
season,
where
he
finished
as
the
joint
highest
wicket-taker
with
32
scalps
which
included
a
fifer
and
hat-trick
against
Mumbai
Indians.

Harshal
revealed
that
he
realised
his
limitations
after
the
grind
in
domestic
cricket
and
worked
on
his
true
potential.

“Being
a
fast
bowler
you
want
to
bowl
fast.
But
then
I
realised
that
my
speed
ceiling
is
probably
at
135kph
and
if
I’m
really
in
very
good
rhythm
I
can
probably
clock
close
to
140.

“But
I
will
never
be
able
to
hold
consistently
at
higher
than
140.
So
that’s
something
I
realised
and
then
I
started
working
on
other
things,
other
skills
that
I
needed
to
do
well
at
this
level,”
he
said.

Harshal
also
realised
that
he
had
a
massive
lateral
flexion
so
he
worked
on
his
angles
to
become
a
skillful
bowler,
something
he
learnt
the
hard
way
in
domestic
cricket.

“I
don’t
have
a
bio
mechanically
perfect
action.
I
have
a
massive
lateral
flexion
at
the
point
of
delivery,
so
I
always
wanted
to
correct
that
because
we
are
told
that
you
know
you’re
more
injury
prone
if
you
don’t
correct
that,”
he
said.

“Also
the
height
of
your
delivery
also
gets
reduced
if
you
have
a
lateral
flexion
and
you
won’t
get
a
lot
of
mounts
and
all
those
things.

“But
what
I
realised
after
playing
seven-eight
years
of
domestic
cricket
is
that
lateral
flexion
gave
me
an
angle
which
was
difficult
for
the
batters
to
line
up
to.

“That
made
my
slow
balls
more
effective.
If
I
talk
about
red
ball
cricket,
that
big
angle
into
the
batsman
allows
me
to
bowl
outswingers
from
a
very
tight
line
and
beat
the
batters
when
it
straightens.
I
started
looking
at
that
as
an
advantage,”
he
added.

Harshal
said
he
worked
hard
to
convert
his
weaknesses
into
his
strengths
and
that
paid
huge
dividends.

“Angles
have
always
been
a
big
part
of
my
game
and
I
use
them
to
good
effect.
I
think
that’s
another
thing
I
realised
that
I
can
add
to
my
repertoire
without
trying
too
many
different
things.

“So
I
bowl
yorkers
from
close
to
the
stumps,
some
from
the
corner
of
the
crease,
and
that
has
a
massive
impact
on
where
the
ball
lands
and
where
the
batsman
plays
the
ball.
It’s
a
massive
advantage
and
a
massive
weapon
for
me,”
he
concluded.

Harshal
had
a
breakout
season
for
Royal
Challengers
Bangalore
in
the
IPL
2021,
emerging
as
the
highest
wicket-taker
in
the
league.
He
had
also
bagged
a
hat-trick
against
Mumbai
Indians,
taking
the
wickets
of
Suryakumar
Yadav,
Kieron
Pollard
and
Rahul
Chahar.

Harshal
later
said
the
wicket
of
Pollard
gave
him
immense
joy
because
he
tricked
the
West
Indian
big-hitter
with
a
clever
slower
ball,
which
rattled
his
stumps
as
the
Trinidadian
tried
move
away
and
looked
to
play
to
square
leg.

He
also
completed
the
hat-trick
with
another
slower
ball
that
beat
the
defence
of
Rahul
Chahar.
The
batsman
tried
to
cover
his
stump
but
the
lower
trajectory
of
the
ball
deceived
him.

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