Tabraiz Shamsi, the world's No. 1 men's T20I bowler at the moment, is a replacement recruit at Rajasthan Royals for IPL 2021, and though his team is in fifth place on the table, he wants to trigger an upturn in fortunes, and expects the "very positive vibe" he plays with to spur his team-mates on.
"I think whether the team is at the first spot or the fifth, the position at the halfway mark doesn't really count," he was quoted as saying in a Royals' media release. "It's what you do in the second half that matters. So, I think we're in a good position right now and we've got half a tournament to play, so it depends on how we play the rest of the games. "I'm generally someone who tries to bring a very positive vibe to the team environment - whether it's speaking to other bowlers, players, or just cracking a joke or two in the changing room to lighten up the mood.
"I'm a big believer in 'a happy team is a team that performs better'. So that is something I try to do with my national team as well, and I will try to bring that here as well."
For Shamsi, 31, this is a second time out at the IPL, after an unremarkable four games - three wickets, economy rate of 9.18 - for Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2016. And he comes in on the back of some good form: seven wickets in six games for Oval Invincibles in the men's Hundred and, more recently, eight wickets in three ODIs and four wickets in three T20Is for not too many in Sri Lanka.
All of which, plus the absence of some big names in Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer, make Shamsi a key cog in the wheel for Royals once the IPL resumes on Sunday in the UAE.
"In the past when I was younger, it [not getting IPL deals] did affect me a little bit. But as you grow older, you realise there are bigger things in life," he said. "You understand that there are certain things you can't control, and I was certainly in that space. I feel like I just have to do my work, and if a team feels I can benefit them with my services, they would pick me like Rajasthan has, and I'm going to try my best to make sure that we win the competition.
"I'm actually somebody who likes watching all the games I can. I like to watch other players and see how they play, and try to pick up on one or two things - stuff that I can implement in my game - which other spinners are doing well, and also study the batsman a bit.
"And obviously Chris Morris and David Miller have been with RR for quite a bit, so I've always ended up watching a game or two whenever my schedule has permitted."
In the UAE, where the remainder of the tournament has been slotted because of Covid-19 concerns in India, the boundaries in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are expected to be long, but the ones in Sharjah are shorter. "I think it is a challenge," Shamsi said. "But it also means that you have an opportunity to get wickets. Sometimes on grounds like that, a spell which goes for 35-40 runs can be a match-winning spell, whereas in other games, a spell of 3 or 4 wickets can change a game. So, I think it's not just about taking wickets."