IPL 2014 news April 11, 2014

Rasool eyes greater IPL exposure

Karthik Krishnaswamy

Last year, Parvez Rasool signed his first IPL contract, but only played two matches for Pune Warriors. He got his first call-up to the national side, on India's ODI tour to Zimbabwe, but didn't get to play a single game. Cricket fans in India know all there is to know about Rasool's rise from a cricketing backwater, and many of them will have followed his domestic career, but most have barely had a chance to watch him play.

Rasool hopes that will change over the course of the upcoming IPL season. Signs so far at his new IPL franchise, Sunrisers Hyderabad, have been promising. The coaching staff, he said, have already made him feel welcome.

"Before the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, [Sunrisers' coach] Tom Moody messaged me, saying 'I heard your domestic Twenty20 tournament is about to start', and wished me luck," Rasool said. "He was keeping an eye on all our scores."

Rasool's performance in the tournament, captaining a Jammu & Kashmir side that didn't win a single match, must have pleased Moody. Bowling his full quota in all five matches, Rasool finished with an economy rate of 5.75, topped his team's run charts with 139 in five matches, and scored his first-ever T20 half-century, against Punjab.

It was the third time Rasool had faced Punjab in the 2013-14 season, and it gave him another opportunity to catch up with Harbhajan Singh. Rasool had already played against Harbhajan in the Ranji Trophy quarter-finals and during the zonal phase of the Vijay Hazare Trophy, and had been his team-mate in the Irani Trophy and the Deodhar Trophy.

"I've spent maximum time with Bhajji pa, and spoken to him about my bowling," Rasool said. "I feel I've picked up a lot, two-three important things. He helped me a lot with my straighter one. At that time, it used to come slowly off the wicket. He suggested that, I could go a little quicker through the last three-four steps of my run-up, and that would help me get a bit more speed off the pitch."

If Rasool gets an opportunity, this delivery should come in handy during the IPL. He said he has also been working on his approach as a Twenty20 bowler.

"You get quite a lot of time in four-day games and even in 50-over cricket," he said. "You don't have that in T20. And you have to read the batsman. You have to adjust quickly. I watch a lot of matches, see what plans bowlers use, and try to work on those things in the nets."

The IPL, Rasool said, has a massive following in Jammu & Kashmir. "Everyone watches it there, and last year, they were following the Pune Warriors matches closely, waiting to see when I would play. This time, I hope l get a chance early on for Sunrisers, and quickly cement my place in the team."