'Bhuvi's is not as flamboyant as mine' - Harshal Patel details about his slower ball deception
India, the inaugural T20 World Cup champions in 2007, are in search of an elusive second ahead of the eight edition of the competition beginning October 15 in Australia. They have already suffered a few major setbacks, with Ravindra Jadeja and Jasprit Bumrah being sidelined with injuries.
Bumrah’s absence leaves much hinging on the shoulders of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel and Arshdeep Singh in the pace-bowling department, both in terms of bagging wickets and stemming the run-flow. India would especially rely on Harshal for the latter, for he has been a designated death bowler for the national side and the Royal Challengers Bangalore over the last couple of years.
The right-arm quick spoke in detail of his go-to ball, the slower one, and elaborated how it is different from that of Bhuvneshwar and the rest.
“Bhuvi's slower balls are very subtle,” Patel told The Cricket Monthly. “He not only deceives the batter with pace but every time you see him bowl a slower ball it is either wide of the line, or when the ball is swinging, like in the Asia Cup, he got a couple of Afghani batters out with knuckleballs which swung in.
“For lack of a better word [Bhuvneshwar's slower ball] is not as flamboyant as mine or Bravo's, or even Jasprit's [Bumrah]. Because he [Bhuvi] does it subtly, he has to keep the element of line and length in play as well. You will rarely see me bowl wide slower balls to right-handers. I want to keep the stumps in play. He does it a little differently, bowls it wide of the [off-stump] line and expects the batters to try to drag it through the leg side.
“From Bhuvi I learned sequencing [of slower balls in an over]. His slower balls are sequenced in a way which makes it even more dangerous. He will bowl a couple of brilliant yorkers at the feet and when the batter is trying to sort of move away and dig that yorker down the ground, he will bowl the slower ball wide outside off stump. And he knows exactly when the batsman is going to do that. So his sequencing is brilliant.”
Harshal further stated that his slower one is more similar to that of Dwayne Bravo, the leading wicket-taker in T20 cricket, while stressing on the significance of arm-speed.
“Bravo is someone who will always keep the stumps in play. And that's what I have learned from him: his slower ball and mine are pretty much the same. But I would say that his is better than mine because he can actually get his slower ball to almost 100 kilometres an hour without changing his arm speed at all, which is an incredible thing.
“I can't imagine doing that. Last IPL I tried doing it and the slowest I could go was 110kph. My normal slower ball would be around, say 115-117kph. And the slowest I could go without compromising on my arm speed is about 107-108kph.”