May 9, 2014

IPL 2014

'If the ball is swinging, the batsman will find it hard'

Swing bowler Sandeep Sharma has been one of the most impressive Indian bowlers in IPL 2014. He is the leading wicket-taker for Kings XI Punjab, with 10 wickets in five matches at an average of 12.80. He has an economy of 7.04 and strike-rate of 10.90, and has Chris Gayle among his scalps. Sharma spoke to Sahil Malhotra of the Indian Express on swing bowling, using the new and old ball, and his development as a bowler.

I am not a born fast bowler. One has to find ways to be successful. I don't agree that your physique has to be good to bowl fast. I am working on my pace. I was bowling around 125 kmph last year but now I am consistently hitting the 130 mark. My pace has increased and I will continue to work in this direction. My pace will definitely increase as I have age on my side. The bones and muscles will only get stronger. In my interactions with the coaches, I have learnt that no matter how good the batsman is, he will struggle against the swinging ball. Even my captain George Bailey said this. So if the ball is swinging nicely, the batsman will find it hard to hit.

Sanju Samson has create a niche for himself in the IPL. His promotion to No.3 implies the faith Rajasthan Royals have in him and an attractive array of shots - both orthodox and innovative - is proof of his talent. But Harsha Bhogle, in the same paper, wonders if he can raise himself to the demands of Test cricket.

I must confess to being a little disappointed watching him at the Under-19 World Cup. He should have dominated that, he should have had other teams wondering what he would do to them. A Tendulkar, who played Under-19 cricket after a first-class hundred, would have been hungry, would have hit a couple of centuries. Samson played attractive cameos there too. In one game he fooled around with the bowling, hit the ball out of the stadium, then just kept slogging, was dropped a few times and got out. It was almost as he if was bored. As a young man bred on bright cameos, will he sustain the hunger to play long innings? Yes, he has a double century for Kerala, and that is a good sign, but keep your eyes open for the long innings.

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