After years of slogging in the domestic circuit and a remarkable show in IPL 2021, Harshal Patel finally has an India cap. He made his T20I debut on Friday night against world cup runners-up New Zealand and produced player-of-the-match performance.
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The right-arm medium pacer took 2/25 from his four overs and both his wickets came during a time when New Zealand were threatening to pile on the runs.
He first neutralised the threat of a well-settled Dary Mitchell in the 12th over and then when Glenn Phillips had just started his six-hitting spree, Harshal struck again to show him the way back to the dug-out.
It was a memorable debut for the 30-year-old who is still to accept the reality that he now as an international cap against his name. “It will sink in and it has been a great game,” Harshal said during the post-match presentation after India’s seven wicket win in Ranchi.
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“I couldn’t have asked for a better debut.” he added.
Before his first international match, Harshal was loaded with an experience of 117 T20s and is a regular feature in IPL with the latest season being his best ever as he won the Purple Cap which is given to the highest wicket taker.
During the season, he took a memorable hat-trick against the five-time champions Mumbai Indians and went on to finish with 32 wickets – the joint highest in an IPL season.
Harshal says that he’s not a gifted bowler and had to work really hard to make his dream a reality. “The progress is gradual and slow. For someone like me who is not exceptionally talented, I had to build my game from ground up. I made mistakes and then found things that I can and cannot do well. It has been a great journey and has taught me many lessons which will hold me in good stead even after cricket,” he said.
On what works for him, he said, “I feel you don’t need too many variations. You just need to know what works for you and need to package it well.”
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