Off The Field

A small tip made a massive difference: Harshal Patel credits Zaheer Khan for transformation as bowler

Written by Abhishek Patil

Harshal Patel is a name that has been on the periphery of Indian cricket for a long while. Over the years, he has been a consistent performer in domestic cricket and also regularly earned Indian Premier League (IPL) contracts. Although despite having some bright moments, he failed to establish himself as a prominent member of an IPL team or break into the Indian side.

However, all that changed in 2021 with a comeback to Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). Harshal won the Purple cap and played an integral role in helping RCB reach the playoffs of IPL 2021. Infact, with a tally of 32 wickets, he equalled Dwayne Bravo’s record of the most wickets in a single IPL season.

Harshal’s brilliant IPL season was rewarded with a place in the Indian team for the home T20I series against New Zealand. He made his debut in the second match of the series and won the Man of the Match award for a two-wicket haul. In the next game, he showed his batting ability with a quick-fire cameo as the Men in Blue whitewashed the visitors 3-0.

There is no denying that over the last few months, Harshal’s career has completely turned around. The 31-year-old has credited legendary Indian cricketer Zaheer Khan for the transformation in his bowling and revealed how a chat with him made a big difference.

In an interview with Indian Express, Harshal said, “When I was with DC and we were playing MI, I got a chance to speak with Zaheer bhai. I have this massive problem of my deliveries drifting down the leg stump, and I spoke to him about it. He spotted an issue with my release angle. With my angle, if I pitch the ball on the off-stump, it will automatically drift to the leg stump.”

“The release angle should target the sixth or seventh stump line and then the ball will hit the off stump, he advised me. A small tip made a massive difference in my consistency and changed me as a bowler,” he added.

About the author

Abhishek Patil