Harshal Patel: a name to remember – IPL has been rightly termed as the cradle of the young Indian cricketers who have travelled lightyears towards the path of recognition with solid performances in the franchise extravaganza. From Virat Kohli to Jasprit Bumrah, the tournament has gifted India, countless talented players.
In the upcoming T20 World Cup, India will be reaping the benefits of its long-term diligence in harnessing its raw talents that have matured over the due course of time. The imminent biennial extravaganza will bear witness to the coronation of youngsters like Suryakumar Yadav, Rahul Chahar, Varun Chakravarthy and Ishan Kishan to the global stage.
These cricketers have performed brilliantly in the shortest format of the game and were deservedly included in the national side for one of the most prestigious cricketing affairs of the world. With all said and done about the raw talents that India has managed to hone into matured personnel, another star that has exuded flamboyant glimpses of promise in the ongoing IPL is the leading wicket-taker of the tournament so far, Harshal Patel.
He leads the line by a proverbial mile as he has claimed 26 wickets from just 12 matches. Bangalore has already qualified for the playoffs and will be playing two more matches in the group stage followed by their knock-out encounters which guarantee at least three more games to Patel. He will have a shot at breaking the record of the highest wickets claimed in a single season which is currently held by Dwayne Bravo who scalped 32 wickets in 2013.
Coming to the fact what makes Harshal Patel so menacing and special in the ongoing edition of the tournament? From the most blatant sight, there are only two answers. Firstly, the man can vary his pace insanely and secondly the line that he bowls in is exceptionally tight for a batter to break free.
It is rare to witness a bowler consistently bowling on the length where the ball would go onto clip the top of the of-stumps and Harshal Patel has exactly managed that. Unless one is on the top of his game, it becomes a herculean challenge to drive or slice at the delivery. On top of that he follows the batsman very acutely and in case of any movement from the batter, he drifts the ball accordingly towards the middle-stump, thereby pruning down any room that the batter can create for himself.
Another important weapon in his arsenal is the wide yorker that he very successfully uses in the death overs. This is another spectacle to behold as he is extremely observant of the batter’s movements. As the slog overs approach, it becomes a cardinal desire for the batsmen to slice at everything that comes their way. Hence, a wide yorker makes it a mandate for the batsman to reach it first and punch at it. This opens up the stumps to Patel that has actually reaped handsome rewards for this medium pacer.
Adding to these incredible attributes, Patel can also vary his pace in significant amounts. From 138 plus he can drop to 115 clicks at the flash of an eye and that is why he is even more dangerous given the sheer unpredictability of his bowling. He is not a fan of the short balls because that disrupts the usual line that he targets.
It is said that in the shortest format of the game, more than the length of the delivery, the line matters. Even a yorker at times is consigned to the ropes and that is due to the ultra-aggression that the batters come to the fray with. This is exactly where Harshal Patel has excelled by leaps and bounds. Just to add to all the aforementioned facets of this rising star, he can also knock you around for a couple of sixes towards the end.