Recalling the valuable advice South African great AB de Villiers gave him during the IPL, India seamer Harshal Patel said his former Royal Challengers Bangalore teammate has had a massive impact on his career. Harshal had a dream international debut, returning with figures of 2/25 to star in India's seven-wicket series-deciding win over New Zealand here on Friday. He was adjudged man-of-the-match for his performance.
His debut coincided with de Villiers announcing his retirement from all forms of cricket. "AB has had a massive impact on my career. I have always been a silent observer of him," Harshal said at the post-match press conference.
"Recently when we were starting our campaign in the UAE I asked him, 'How do I reduce my big overs? Like I conceded 12-15 even 20 runs in the IPL so how should I reduce those?" He told me, 'When a batsman hits your good delivery, you shouldn't change that. You should constantly force the batsman to hit your good deliveries only. If you get hit once on a good delivery then the batsman expects that you would change it and try another option.'
"That is something that stayed with me throughout the second leg of IPL and will stay with me throughout my career," Harshal said.
The advice seemed to have worked wonders for Harshal, who ended up being the leading wicket-taker of this season's IPL. The 30-year-old was included in the Indian playing XI on Friday as a forced change after fellow pacer Mohammad Siraj suffered a split webbing during the first T20I.
A USA green card holder, who decided to stay in India on the advice of his elder brother, Harshal said: "I was a very impetuous, very impatient person growing up. I learned through experiences, reading books, and listening to successful people."
He spoke about the importance of being patient. "The second lesson and probably the most underrated thing is people don't talk enough about patience. I feel progress doesn't happen overnight. It's a slow process. It's a gradual process. And if you want to make a change, get better at something, you need to allow yourself enough time to sort of figure that out, how you're going to do that and it's going to take time.
"Being able to decipher the wheat from the chaff is a skill in itself. It's not something I was born with. It was the ability to differentiate between my skill set and things that I could not do," he signed off.