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Rajasthan Royals' offspinner Ajit Chandila, who picked up the first hat-trick of the season, said that former India legspinner Narendra Hirwani's advice before the match gave him the confidence to bowl with the new ball against Pune Warriors on Sunday.
Chandila, who played only his second match this season, dismissed Warriors' top order with Jesse Ryder, Sourav Ganguly and Robin Uthappa falling in his first two overs and Anustup Majumdar in his last. "I asked Narendra Hirwani for his advice as it was an important match," Chandila said. "He asked me to stick to the basics, bowl in the right areas and stop the batsmen from getting to the pitch of the ball. His words gave me a lot of confidence. I just tried to bowl in those areas and it paid dividends."
Chandila, who ended with match-winning figures of 4 for 13, said that he studied the weaknesses of Warriors' batsmen before the match which gave him the edge. "I watched the likes of Sourav Ganguly and Robin Uthappa bat in the past, so I knew where to bowl [to them],"he said. "I just tried to bowl in those areas and got the dividends."
Chandila also credited wicketkeeper Shreevats Goswami for stumping Ganguly and Uthappa. "Goswami was brilliant behind the stumps. This is a team game and you need the help of your team-mates."
Chandila's mentor, Hirwani, said that the key to the offspinner's success was his accuracy. "My advice to him was to keep the batsmen in check by not giving easy runs," Hirwani said. "He is not a big turner of the ball so I have always told him to try and concede less than 20 runs in his four overs. If he does that then he'll invariably have at least two wickets to his name.
"His biggest advantage is his height. In addition to that he has a long pause in his action, which helps him in getting just that little bit of extra time to see what the batsman is doing and possibly adjust accordingly."
Chandila is a known name in local cricket circles in Delhi, and has been part of a strong Air India corporate side for several years now. Uthappa is his team-mate at Air India, as is Rajat Bhatia, the Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi allrounder.
"He has done well for Air India," Bhatia said. "Rajasthan Royals must have seen something in him, that is why they have selected him. He did well [on Sunday]; he will need to be consistent in the future."
At the club and corporate level, Chandila is known to be a restrictive and steady bowler who does not turn the ball much. While he has not been able to play much at state level, he is a regular in the grind of local cricket, where at times a team plays a 40-over game and a 20-over game on the same day in the summer heat. But all those long hours spent toiling away anonymously pale before the limelight that the IPL hat-trick has brought for Chandila.