India news June 6, 2016

'Maybe Delhi didn't back my skills' - Negi

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Negi opens up after disappointing IPL season

Pawan Negi had a phenomenal start to 2016, only most of his success came off the field. The 23-year old left-arm spinner was a wildcard pick in the Indian squad for the World T20 but he couldn't break into the XI. Still, his elevation up the ranks had come in time for the IPL auction, where he was bought for INR 8.5 crores by Delhi Daredevils, who had made a conscious decision to recruit younger players this year. Negi had fit the profile, but after a dismal season - he played only eight of the team's 14 matches and bowled a mere nine overs in the entire tournament - he felt he was underused.

"I kept wondering why wasn't I given more opportunities," Negi told the Asian Age. "And the team management didn't tell me the reason either. When I was with CSK [Chennai Super Kings], Mahi bhai [MS Dhoni] backed my abilities. Maybe, I feel Delhi didn't back my skills with bat and ball. Maybe, it was a rotation policy, because I was never told that I was dropped.

"The hardest part was, before every match, I had no clue whether I would play or not. People kept asking me why I didn't play much. I didn't have a proper answer.

"Sitting on the bench was hard to digest as I never expected to watch the action from the sidelines. I was mentally down, but I didn't lose hope. After the season, TA Sekhar and our manager Sunil Valson pepped me up saying that I didn't get enough opportunities to showcase my abilities."

In the chances he did get, however, Negi was unable to make an impact. He was often used as a pinch hitter in the batting order but a strike-rate of 96.61 indicated his lack of form. On the bowling front, with Amit Mishra, Zaheer Khan and Chris Morris taking 36 of the team's 63 wickets in 2016 and establishing themselves as the frontline options, Negi was rarely needed. He picked up one wicket.

A mixture of injury and strategy contributed to Daredevils making 35 changes in 14 matches - an average of 2.5 changes per match - which also contributed to Negi spending time in the sidelines.

"I was told that it was sort of a combination [of poor form and tactics]," Negi said. "Though I'm a very positive person, I would say this IPL ended on a negative note for me. I wasn't surprised a bit that I didn't make the cut for the Zimbabwe series because I didn't perform well in the IPL. Now, I will practice hard for the upcoming Ranji season."

Negi has played one match for India - a dead rubber against UAE in the Asia Cup in March - but at the time of the auction in February, he was still uncapped and the INR 8.5 crores he fetched was the record for an uncapped player in the IPL.

When asked if the money had played on his mind, he said "it was never about money. The team management said not to get weighed down by the price tag and the pressure that comes with it. Coach Rahul Dravid told me to stick to my natural instincts. He wanted me to perform like I was doing in the Chennai colours for the last two years. I was excited to play for Delhi, my home."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Vicky_Maly on June 7, 2016, 13:54 GMT

    Unfortunately, Negi seems to be rating himself on the 8.5 Cr price tag rather than teh form and performance. With a press statement like this, he has made sure that Delhi is going to release him at the first opportunity. He was lucky to 8 matches out of 14, which is an amazing opportunity, not to be scorned or taken lightly of. Under the tutelage of Dravid and Zaheer, he had the best possible way forward. Seems to me that Negi's mindset and outlook is symptomatic of some of the young kids on the block. Too eager to pretend that they have 'arrived' and not tough enough to put in the hard yards, not patient enough to observe and learn. Unless there is a remarkable change in this kid's outlook and on-field efforts, I don't see him stepping into Indian shoes again.

  • The.Diplomats on June 7, 2016, 8:38 GMT

    Pawan Negi must be the only cricket fan in the world who doesn't understand why Pawan Negi wasn't given more chances. It's because every time he played, he was completely rubbish.

  • ziddu on June 7, 2016, 6:59 GMT

    I still do not understand what skill he is talking about. Do not worry, you will soon by released by your franchisee and you will know exactly where you stand. And playing for the country will have to wait. You need to prove yourself in Ranji trophy games at least one season.

  • Sa1borg on June 7, 2016, 6:36 GMT

    There are no skills for Delhi to back, mate.

  • Alenn on June 7, 2016, 4:33 GMT

    Dear Negi, u got to understand, u played enough matches for CSK because u were still uncapped at that time and every team is supposed to play uncapped player in 11. CSK had the squad who could play all international players in 11 if that was possible(u only got the chance because of ipl uncapped player rule). I bet u go in pune team next year and u wont get more than 2/3 games under MS even unless u do something amazing in those chances.

  • aby_97 on June 7, 2016, 4:24 GMT

    Negi is not a pinch hitter.He needs to face a few dots before starting to get into his groove.He is not a good bowler, he is just a part timer.He has a loopy action due to which he can't get the accuracy like a Jaddu or Axar.He doesn't land the ball on the seam and hence he doesn't have spin.He is a batting all rounder who should be batting at No.4 or No.5 but since DD had Karun and Sanju there was no option of accommodating him.

  •   Cricinfouser on June 7, 2016, 4:05 GMT

    Mr Negi, you should be thanking heavens for the amount of money you made. Looking at you bat and bowl, we as viewers felt you were given way too many opportunities. I literally shouted in anger when I saw u in the playing in the final few matches. Unless u improve by leaps n bounds in the near future, don't think anyone will bid that much amount for u.

    Plus they way MSD stepped out first ball against you and clobbered that six, he really trusts your ability.

    Still, I feel MSD works differently, he likes to have variety n backups when It comes to bowling. You were a backup who knows how to hold the bat (mind u...just hold, not use it) n that's why u got in. Otherwise u really think u r half as good as Mishra?? Dude, Nadeem n Yadav are also way better.

  • needgreenpitches4bowlingallrounders on June 7, 2016, 3:31 GMT

    Interesting use of words from Negi. Definitely think you got skills in same range of gurkreet n rishi . Long gap from jaddu n axar. Fortunately you landed in DD which was like RR n gave chances a plenty to uncapped players (u got 1 international game). Except for axar n jaddu remaining all-rounders didn't feature in team XIs consistently. Other teams would have used you even less in there game plan cos that's how I see franchises using lower order indian all-rounders. First gain 3 full overs consistently if bowling all-rounder(binny got 2 consistently) than think about team usage. DD used nadeem n jayanth for 3 overs consistently that's where u lost half battle. With JP having similar role Its tough to accommodate you consistently in team.

  • ravis123 on June 7, 2016, 3:02 GMT

    His selection at Rs 8.5 Cr was BIZARRE... Completely wrong choice for a team, where he DOES NOT BELONG - with a mentor like Dravid and a Captain like Zaheer, what else can you ask? Negi should learn to be humble, committed and willing to learn, instead of blaming the team management - he should be released immediately from Delhi - I guess only MSD will pick him and that too at no more than Rs 50 lacs. Success gets into one's head and at this early age, if this guy does not correct himself, he has absolutely no future in cricket, even at the Ranji or Duleep trophy level...

  • Jose...P on June 7, 2016, 2:42 GMT

    @Negi:

    Captain & crew don't go by your price tag. That is the product of the bidders' notions - rightly or wrongly.

    You didn't show anything to encourage the captain and the staff to use you any better. Accept that fact.

    Perhaps it is the pressure of the price tag, as more experienced layers like Yuvi, Yususf Pathan, & DK displayed in the past. The same three started performing right, when the price 'became' right.

    May be, DD may trade you; some other franchise picks you up at the right price; and presto, you may start doing things you know and capable of, naturally. And, well.

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