To date, Royal Challengers Bangalore have never won an Indian Premier League (IPL) and has only made it to the final thrice in the competition’s history. But over the last few years, ever since Mike Hesson took over the reign, the Bangalore-based outfit have looked like challenging the big dogs for an IPL title.
In all seasons that Hesson has been involved in, Bangalore have made it to the playoffs but have faltered in the knockout stage. Harshal Patel, an integral part of the setup, opined that he’s never seen a team management that has been ardent on a process-oriented game more than RCB.
“I'm being very, very honest when I say in my last couple of years with RCB, I have never seen a team management that is more process-oriented and more focused on taking care of the players so that they will take care of what needs to be taken care of on the field. Consistency in these philosophies and these practices will eventually lead to outcomes, which we have been desiring for 15 years,” Harshal Patel told ESPNCricinfo.
On a personal level, Harshal’s form with the ball has been quite dodgy, which even led to the all-rounder not playing any part in India’s T20 World Cup campaign in Australia. At the death, a phase where he has been an expert, the right-arm seamer conceded runs at 10.9, averaging a high 29.9.
Harshal insisted that T20 World Cup isn’t his only goal, and reckoned that his aim in the past year has been to add more dimensions to his game, including bowling with the new ball.
“My only aim is to try and add dimensions to my game and try to get better every year and add value to whatever responsibilities I have. I'm not going take it easy just because there's no [T20] World Cup. I can't think like that. There's always a cascading effect of good performances, whether you can foresee it or not. So focusing on what you can do is most important,” he added.
Harshal broke the Indian bowling scene in 2021 when he bowled a plethora of slower balls, which eventually got him the Purple Cap and the tag ‘Purple Patel’ when he ended the season with 32 wickets.
“So adding that skill to my game was a challenge I wanted to take on. That makes me a more multi-dimensional bowler,” Patel added.
“If I could give them [my team] an over or two in the top half of the game, in the top six [overs], then that makes me more valuable. I was always thinking about how I can add one more thing to what I already have.”
While his need in the RCB outfit might still be to bowl in the middle-overs and at the death, Harshal wanted to be ready if an opportunity presented itself to take the new ball.
“Whether I get the new ball in the IPL is dependent on the combination of the team and what the team requires of me in the middle and death overs. All I want to do is show them that I'm ready to bowl with the new ball if they need me.”
RCB kick-off their season against the five-time IPL champions, Mumbai Indians in front of their passionate fans at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, on April 2 (Sunday).