Working on increasing pace - Sandeep

Venugopal Rao was bowled for 11 by Sandeep Sharma BCCI

Working on increasing pace - Sandeep
Kings XI Punjab seamer Sandeep Sharma has said he is working on increasing his pace, which will complement his impressive swing that has troubled some of the best batsmen in the IPL. Sandeep, 20, has ten wickets in five games this season, including two consecutive three-wicket hauls.

"I was bowling around 125 kmph last year but now I am consistently hitting the 130 mark," Sandeep told Indian Express. "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."

Sandeep said he had learnt by observing Dale Steyn that a bowler needs to crank up the pace a bit more when the ball gets older and stops swinging. "When he (Steyn) operates with the new ball, he bowls around 135-137 and as it gets older he picks up speed. It is with the old ball that I will look to get extra yards because the ball doesn't swing and one has to get the yorkers and bouncers right at that stage."

When asked about his interactions with his team-mates, Sandeep said Mitchell Johnson has been helping him with the mental aspects of the game, while Virender Sehwag has helped him plan against opposition batsmen. "He (Sehwag) helps me read the wicket and informs how it has behaved in the past. He also helps me plan for a particular batsman, by discussing their strengths and weaknesses."

Batsmen not converting starts - Albie Morkel
Royal Challengers Bangalore allrounder Albie Morkel has said his team's main batsmen would have to step up and make bigger scores in order to rise from their current position at No.5. In seven games, RCB have had only three half-centuries - from AB de Villiers, Parthiv Patel and Yuvraj Singh - while the captain Virat Kohli has a highest of 49*. Chris Gayle has not carried on after making starts in three innings so far.

"Most of our batsmen got good starts. But we didn't convert," Morkel said on the eve of Royal Challengers' home game against Kings XI Punjab. "The best innings was of AB who hit 89. And if you want to win T20 games, out of top five-six batsmen, one has to go out and score a big one. Thirties and 40s can win you games on occasions."

Royal Challengers play their next three games at home and Morkel was confident the side would fulfill the expectation of winning at least five of the next seven games to qualify for the playoffs. "It is a blessing in disguise to play three matches (in Bangalore)," Morkel said. "We haven't yet peaked. Hopefully, that happens tomorrow. We all know Virat Kohli is a feisty character and he will be up for it."

Enjoying bowling with Steyn - Bhuvneshwar
Sunrisers Hyderabad seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar has said he is enjoying sharing the new ball with Dale Steyn and that his interactions with the South African have helped him improve as a bowler. Bhuvneshwar is currently tied with Mohit Sharma on top of the IPL wicket charts with 14. He has been one of the most impressive Indian bowlers this season, troubling batsmen with his swing with the new ball and maintaining an impressive economy rate of 5.45.

"He (Steyn) is the one who always talks and shares experiences regarding the different situations in a match. Bowling at the death has been great as of now. I am glad I have been taking wickets and have been economical at the same time," Bhuvneshwar told iplt20.com.

Bhuvneshwar said that patience is key for a bowler, irrespective of the format. "It (patience) is the key while bowling in different situations. And as a bowler, there will be days when you go for runs and don't get any wickets. But one needs to realise that patience pays off, and with time, it will get you results. I feel a bowler should learn to be patient come what may."