May 4, 2013

The modest Super King

Meet Mohit Sharma, one of the biggest surprises in the first half of this IPL
  shares 20

Who has taken the most wickets in Powerplays during this IPL? A 24-year-old right-arm medium-pacer from Faridabad who plays for Haryana on the domestic circuit. His 11 victims include Virender Sehwag, David Warner, Yuvraj Singh, Brendon McCullum and Cameron White: all defeated by nagging accuracy.

Mohit Sharma is unlikely to have been your top guess.

"I feel really good if you look at the names. They are big players all of them," Mohit said, a day after his three wickets helped Super Kings defeat Pune Warriors in Pune. "But when I charged in with the ball in hand, I never had in my mind who was in front of me."

It was his second three-wicket haul in the IPL. His first came against Delhi Daredevils at Feroz Shah Kotla, where he bowled a tight three-over spell, giving away just 10 runs. Two days after the Pune match, he played another influential hand, taking two wickets in the home encounter against Kings XI Punjab.

He may be relatively unknown outside cricketing circles in north India but Mohit was one of the most consistent bowlers in this year's Ranji Trophy, finishing the season as the fifth-highest wicket-taker. His 37 wickets came in just eight matches - his team, Haryana, semi-finalists in 2012, failed to make the knockouts this time.

As news of his promise spread, talent-hungry franchises knocked on the door of Anirudh Chaudhary, the secretary of the Haryana Cricket Association. It is understood that three teams were keen to sign Mohit before Super Kings won the day.

Sharma was one of five uncapped Indian domestic players Super Kings picked after a one-day bowling camp in Chennai in January. He was one of four fast bowlers - apart from Karnataka's Ronit More, and Uttar Pradesh's Imtiaz Ahmed and Ankit Rajpoot - shortlisted by Super Kings' bowling coach, Andy Bichel.

"Halfway into the Ranji season, I was told that there were chances that Super Kings might be interested," Mohit said. "I was attending the fast-bowling camp at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore when I got a call from them."

About 5ft 11in tall, he has a smooth delivery stride and relies on the outswinger for his stock ball. He says Bichel, the former Australia fast bowler, has played an influential role, building his confidence from the outset. The biggest correction Bichel made - which is still a work in progress - was to Mohit's body balance after he landed in his delivery stride; his body would be in an awkward position before he entered his follow-through.

After Mohit's match-winning spell against Warriors, his captain, MS Dhoni, spoke of how he was putting to use skills he had learned playing in Delhi's competitive environment. A good example has been Mohit's strategy against left-handers like David Warner and Yuvraj Singh on low and slow pitches like the ones at Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi and Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium in Pune.

"Since both the pitches keep slightly low, my plan was to pitch the ball as close to the body of the batsman as possible," he said. Warner played on, attempting a pull against the short ball, and Yuvraj was caught behind off a cut.

Though he's a newcomer, Mohit said he was under no pressure when he sat in the Super Kings dressing room for the first time. "No doubt I was excited, but I was only observing to begin with," he said.

Dhoni's message to Mohit, at all times, has been clear: "The captain has always told me to keep things simple. The best method is to stick to a good line and not offer width, and bowl as many dot balls as possible, which would make things difficult for the batsman."

"The biggest thing is: your attitude on the field is visible to everyone. So how you maintain your composure and perform in any situation is what matters"

Mohit hopes to use the lessons from the IPL to his benefit in domestic cricket. "The biggest thing is: your attitude on the field is visible to everyone. So how you maintain your composure and perform in any situation is what matters. Even off the field, I have learned that these big players are just normal and treat me as an equal. That is a very good feeling."

His grounded nature comes from the grooming he received at the Haryana Cricket Association. He is not the first Haryana medium-pacer to play in the IPL - Joginder Sharma played for Super Kings, and Harshal Patel was one of the architects of Royal Challengers Bangalore's impressive 2011-12 season.

What sets Mohit apart from his team-mates is his consistency, both in domestic cricket as well as in the IPL. For this, one must credit Haryana physiotherapist Amit Tyagi, who oversaw his fitness throughout the domestic season. Aware of Mohit's stress-related issues with his shins, due to heavy workload, he managed the injury and recommended that Mohit be benched immediately after the Ranji season.

The advice was taken, and Mohit travelled with the team for various tournaments but did not play any matches. The rest and constant monitoring by Tyagi were the two big factors that allowed him to report fit for the IPL.

Ashwini Kumar, Haryana's coach, believes that the two off-season camps in the cooler climes of Nainital have helped bowlers like Mohit a lot. He says Mohit's strength has been his big heart, his ability to bowl according to match situations, and his ability to not get affected by what is happening around him - factors that have helped fast-track him into a strike bowler in a short period of time.

Mohit played just three matches in his debut Ranji season in 2011-12, when Haryana entered the semi-finals. They followed that up with a terrible start to the season just finished - losing their first three home matches to Vidarbha, Orissa and Baroda, largely because of batting failures - but Mohit, who picked up 19 wickets in these matches, did his bit to force the opposition to work for their wins.

"We were 55 and 66 all out in the first two matches and despite that Mohit made sure the opponents would not have an easy run to victory," Kumar said. In Haryana's fourth match against Delhi, again at home, Mohit claimed six wickets to help his team to an 83-run win.

Mohit said his roles at Haryana and Super Kings, both in terms of motivation and responsibility, are similar. Bowling with the new ball has helped spare him the pressure in the IPL of coming on when teams have got going.

He is not someone who experiments too much even when things are not going in his favour. "I try and stay within my limits," he said. "The more you think about something, the more you will pile pressure. Do your job, listen to people, do your homework."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Sir.Ivor on | May 4, 2013, 7:54 GMT

    It is unfortunate that Mohit Sharma is not in the list of 30 probables for the Champion's cup. I am writing this on the eve of the selection. Mohit struck me as being a good fast medium bowler.His pace is akin to Kapil when he started out and his accuracy is just similar to the great man. His stock ball is apparently the outswinger and he is very accurate. That makes his a lethal customer.He looks a hardy one from Haryana. From his interviews I get the impression that he is a thinking bowler as well. He judges the ideal length on different pitches and that I feel is a great strength. I wish he is selected for the Champion's cup. He will be very good there if given the chance. Ankit Rajpoot is another excellent prospect. I feel India will soon have an assembly line of quicks. Cricket has always been a cycle.

  • POSTED BY RajeshNaik on | May 4, 2013, 3:02 GMT

    Whats impressive is his line. Never wavers from just outside off stump line. He may fall short of length sometimes and goes for couple of runs but the line is immaculate. Thats what fetched him all those wickets. Also seems to be a very modest and level headed person. Only if other bowlers learn not to experiment too much and concentrate on line...

  • POSTED BY Roger234 on | May 5, 2013, 5:23 GMT

    Nice going Dude !! You are really really impressive. Make sure you maintain your fitness well and start increasing your speed also. You are pretty young. You can touch 140 s. Once you start doing that, you will automatically start grabbing attention from the entire country.. Find of the season - IPL 2013

  • POSTED BY on | May 4, 2013, 20:46 GMT

    I don't think Mohit Sharma is as gifted as Bhuvnesh Kumar or Ishant Sharma, but he has kept things simple, bowled tight lines and hence has been succesful in IPL. He might mever represent India, but performs an important role with CSK.

  • POSTED BY on | May 4, 2013, 19:22 GMT

    The most impressive players this IPL Mohith and Sanju samson Rishi Dhawan, Vihari & Ashish Readdy were also good

  • POSTED BY IndCricFan2013 on | May 4, 2013, 18:15 GMT

    Well Done Mohit Sharma! CSK picked the 5th pace bowler on the Ranji wicket takers list. The other top 4 plays for other IPL teams. CSK is lucky to have picked Mohit. It is a win-win for both Mohit and CSK.

  • POSTED BY NiranjanKumar on | May 4, 2013, 16:32 GMT

    He is a really impressive lad and he is bowling good line and length to get top batsmen out. But another reason for his success is MS Dhoni and Fleming. They have protected him from the hard hitting batsmen in the death. Dhoni has made him bowl his complete quota in the first 10 overs and that has helped him with his confidence and self belief. Really a good find and very well utilized by CSK.

  • POSTED BY ramli on | May 4, 2013, 12:50 GMT

    Well done ... young lad ... certainly his wickets include great batsmen ... with necessary inputs from CSK, he should translate them into deeds in his next Ranji season ... then, he can force his way into the A tours ... good luck

  • POSTED BY sweetspot on | May 4, 2013, 11:38 GMT

    What a humble and sweet chap on top of being a good bowler. CSK really know how to find their gems and bet on them. Great to see Mohit keeping it simple for himself and in the right place to be groomed.

  • POSTED BY realfan on | May 4, 2013, 11:03 GMT

    very impressive player..... i hope selectors will consider him and send for some list A matches or INDIA A tour and get to know the levels of game very well.....

  • POSTED BY Sir.Ivor on | May 4, 2013, 7:54 GMT

    It is unfortunate that Mohit Sharma is not in the list of 30 probables for the Champion's cup. I am writing this on the eve of the selection. Mohit struck me as being a good fast medium bowler.His pace is akin to Kapil when he started out and his accuracy is just similar to the great man. His stock ball is apparently the outswinger and he is very accurate. That makes his a lethal customer.He looks a hardy one from Haryana. From his interviews I get the impression that he is a thinking bowler as well. He judges the ideal length on different pitches and that I feel is a great strength. I wish he is selected for the Champion's cup. He will be very good there if given the chance. Ankit Rajpoot is another excellent prospect. I feel India will soon have an assembly line of quicks. Cricket has always been a cycle.

  • POSTED BY RajeshNaik on | May 4, 2013, 3:02 GMT

    Whats impressive is his line. Never wavers from just outside off stump line. He may fall short of length sometimes and goes for couple of runs but the line is immaculate. Thats what fetched him all those wickets. Also seems to be a very modest and level headed person. Only if other bowlers learn not to experiment too much and concentrate on line...

  • POSTED BY Roger234 on | May 5, 2013, 5:23 GMT

    Nice going Dude !! You are really really impressive. Make sure you maintain your fitness well and start increasing your speed also. You are pretty young. You can touch 140 s. Once you start doing that, you will automatically start grabbing attention from the entire country.. Find of the season - IPL 2013

  • POSTED BY on | May 4, 2013, 20:46 GMT

    I don't think Mohit Sharma is as gifted as Bhuvnesh Kumar or Ishant Sharma, but he has kept things simple, bowled tight lines and hence has been succesful in IPL. He might mever represent India, but performs an important role with CSK.

  • POSTED BY on | May 4, 2013, 19:22 GMT

    The most impressive players this IPL Mohith and Sanju samson Rishi Dhawan, Vihari & Ashish Readdy were also good

  • POSTED BY IndCricFan2013 on | May 4, 2013, 18:15 GMT

    Well Done Mohit Sharma! CSK picked the 5th pace bowler on the Ranji wicket takers list. The other top 4 plays for other IPL teams. CSK is lucky to have picked Mohit. It is a win-win for both Mohit and CSK.

  • POSTED BY NiranjanKumar on | May 4, 2013, 16:32 GMT

    He is a really impressive lad and he is bowling good line and length to get top batsmen out. But another reason for his success is MS Dhoni and Fleming. They have protected him from the hard hitting batsmen in the death. Dhoni has made him bowl his complete quota in the first 10 overs and that has helped him with his confidence and self belief. Really a good find and very well utilized by CSK.

  • POSTED BY ramli on | May 4, 2013, 12:50 GMT

    Well done ... young lad ... certainly his wickets include great batsmen ... with necessary inputs from CSK, he should translate them into deeds in his next Ranji season ... then, he can force his way into the A tours ... good luck

  • POSTED BY sweetspot on | May 4, 2013, 11:38 GMT

    What a humble and sweet chap on top of being a good bowler. CSK really know how to find their gems and bet on them. Great to see Mohit keeping it simple for himself and in the right place to be groomed.

  • POSTED BY realfan on | May 4, 2013, 11:03 GMT

    very impressive player..... i hope selectors will consider him and send for some list A matches or INDIA A tour and get to know the levels of game very well.....

  • POSTED BY sgd120 on | May 4, 2013, 8:35 GMT

    Please, please selectors - send him on a couple of A tours, let him get a flavour of international cricket. Developmentally, this is really important. BCCI seems to have forgotten about the A tours, but they are a very important step in the development of cricketers for the highest level.

  • POSTED BY Abyss007 on | May 4, 2013, 6:47 GMT

    Please share my comment.... he is one of the most exciting bowler in ipl6 apart from faulkner... great line great length and most importtant pace variation...ahh afteer a long time i like an indian uncapped bowler.. please selectors give this talent a chance and send him along with bhuvi and umesh to some A-Team tours to SA,Australia...they are the future of indian bowling line up...

  • POSTED BY ziddu on | May 4, 2013, 6:11 GMT

    Pretty impressed with this guy. Also watch out for Vihari of Sunrisers. Though most expected the likes of Chand and Harmeet to make a mark, they have flattered to deceive. Mohit is a good find and is lucky to play under Dhoni. Also note his consistency will be rewarded soon as he is being closely watched by none other than the Indian skipper and also BCCI president. Good luck Mohit.

  • POSTED BY Cricwallahs on | May 4, 2013, 5:31 GMT

    He uses variation only when the batsmen target him.Sticks according to the game plan.Has the knack of picking wickets bowls perfect line to the left handers. Wickets of David Warner,Finch,Yuvraj!!Sheer class and has the perfect attitude. Bounces back immediately eg.Wicket of Mandeep Singh in last match. MSD trusts him a lot he has been CSK's go to man.Best find of the year and a true asset for Indian cricket

  • POSTED BY Romenevans on | May 4, 2013, 4:53 GMT

    Good prospect, but credit goes to MSD for saving him from death overs. He usually finish his overs before 15th over, so we are yet to see his death over bowling. Anyway, he is a good prospect in the making and will learn a lot from CSK experience.

  • POSTED BY VJGS on | May 4, 2013, 4:52 GMT

    It is till early days for him and the IPL or Indian domestic cricket are hardly good indicators. If he can perform to the same level in the next IPL too, whichever franchise he then plays for, maybe he will get a chance at the international level.

  • POSTED BY on | May 4, 2013, 4:43 GMT

    When ever I see sharma, first phrase comes automatically from my mouth is "Here starts loco motive engine to get rid of opp team" His runup is so impressive to me that you get the feeling that this Man wil trouble the openers, and so he does. Kudos to Sharma and hope for the bright future.

  • POSTED BY on | May 4, 2013, 4:31 GMT

    Well,the most important thing is that he hasn't tasted the flavour of death bowling. Yet,for the early overs,he is the best choice for his team. CSK need to win couple of matches to get through to the 1st qualifier.So,they can provide chances to some other indian bowler.Ronit More,Imtiaz Ahmed have performed well ins domestic circuit.Also, Imtiaz can bat well. So,my CSK side in next matches:1)Miachel Hussey,2)Wriddhiman Saha,3)Suresh Raina,4)Chris Morris,5)MS dhoni,6)Ravindra Jadeja,7)Dwayne Bravo,8)Albie Morke,9)lImtiaz Ahmed/Ronit More,10)Ravi Ashwin,11)Mohit Sharma.Instead of Morkel,Akila Dananjaya can play.He can be a good death over bowler. But then they will have to play one more batsman.So,Murali Vijay can be brought in.

  • POSTED BY May4sBeWithThem on | May 4, 2013, 3:36 GMT

    Another simple, no-nonsense, hardworking cricketer - pretty much symbolizes the work ethic of CSK. No wonder he fits in so well with Super Kings! Go CSK!

  • POSTED BY on | May 4, 2013, 3:24 GMT

    An awesome find by the super kings. So far I have seen lot of people say that he doesn't have the pace to succeed but I think its wrong to judge him as an out and out pace bowler. He is more in the lines of McGrath, Pollock and Vaas. Guys who were certainly not fastest but picked up truckload of wickets due to their sheer accuracy. A great find and hopefuly he makes it to the Indian team.

  • POSTED BY on | May 4, 2013, 3:24 GMT

    An awesome find by the super kings. So far I have seen lot of people say that he doesn't have the pace to succeed but I think its wrong to judge him as an out and out pace bowler. He is more in the lines of McGrath, Pollock and Vaas. Guys who were certainly not fastest but picked up truckload of wickets due to their sheer accuracy. A great find and hopefuly he makes it to the Indian team.

  • POSTED BY May4sBeWithThem on | May 4, 2013, 3:36 GMT

    Another simple, no-nonsense, hardworking cricketer - pretty much symbolizes the work ethic of CSK. No wonder he fits in so well with Super Kings! Go CSK!

  • POSTED BY on | May 4, 2013, 4:31 GMT

    Well,the most important thing is that he hasn't tasted the flavour of death bowling. Yet,for the early overs,he is the best choice for his team. CSK need to win couple of matches to get through to the 1st qualifier.So,they can provide chances to some other indian bowler.Ronit More,Imtiaz Ahmed have performed well ins domestic circuit.Also, Imtiaz can bat well. So,my CSK side in next matches:1)Miachel Hussey,2)Wriddhiman Saha,3)Suresh Raina,4)Chris Morris,5)MS dhoni,6)Ravindra Jadeja,7)Dwayne Bravo,8)Albie Morke,9)lImtiaz Ahmed/Ronit More,10)Ravi Ashwin,11)Mohit Sharma.Instead of Morkel,Akila Dananjaya can play.He can be a good death over bowler. But then they will have to play one more batsman.So,Murali Vijay can be brought in.

  • POSTED BY on | May 4, 2013, 4:43 GMT

    When ever I see sharma, first phrase comes automatically from my mouth is "Here starts loco motive engine to get rid of opp team" His runup is so impressive to me that you get the feeling that this Man wil trouble the openers, and so he does. Kudos to Sharma and hope for the bright future.

  • POSTED BY VJGS on | May 4, 2013, 4:52 GMT

    It is till early days for him and the IPL or Indian domestic cricket are hardly good indicators. If he can perform to the same level in the next IPL too, whichever franchise he then plays for, maybe he will get a chance at the international level.

  • POSTED BY Romenevans on | May 4, 2013, 4:53 GMT

    Good prospect, but credit goes to MSD for saving him from death overs. He usually finish his overs before 15th over, so we are yet to see his death over bowling. Anyway, he is a good prospect in the making and will learn a lot from CSK experience.

  • POSTED BY Cricwallahs on | May 4, 2013, 5:31 GMT

    He uses variation only when the batsmen target him.Sticks according to the game plan.Has the knack of picking wickets bowls perfect line to the left handers. Wickets of David Warner,Finch,Yuvraj!!Sheer class and has the perfect attitude. Bounces back immediately eg.Wicket of Mandeep Singh in last match. MSD trusts him a lot he has been CSK's go to man.Best find of the year and a true asset for Indian cricket

  • POSTED BY ziddu on | May 4, 2013, 6:11 GMT

    Pretty impressed with this guy. Also watch out for Vihari of Sunrisers. Though most expected the likes of Chand and Harmeet to make a mark, they have flattered to deceive. Mohit is a good find and is lucky to play under Dhoni. Also note his consistency will be rewarded soon as he is being closely watched by none other than the Indian skipper and also BCCI president. Good luck Mohit.

  • POSTED BY Abyss007 on | May 4, 2013, 6:47 GMT

    Please share my comment.... he is one of the most exciting bowler in ipl6 apart from faulkner... great line great length and most importtant pace variation...ahh afteer a long time i like an indian uncapped bowler.. please selectors give this talent a chance and send him along with bhuvi and umesh to some A-Team tours to SA,Australia...they are the future of indian bowling line up...

  • POSTED BY sgd120 on | May 4, 2013, 8:35 GMT

    Please, please selectors - send him on a couple of A tours, let him get a flavour of international cricket. Developmentally, this is really important. BCCI seems to have forgotten about the A tours, but they are a very important step in the development of cricketers for the highest level.