Home > Features >

IPL 7: Sandeep Sharma – Rookie pacer swinging the tide for Kings XI Punjab

Sandeep Sharma has been a vital cog in the Kings XI Punjab bowling line-up © IANS
Sandeep Sharma has been a vital cog in the Kings XI Punjab bowling line-up © IANS

By G Krishnan

Sandeep Sharma is a good mimic. His India Under-19 coach Bharat Arun says that Sharma defuses any tense situation by imitating players and coaches. “Sandy keeps the team in splits. He loves to have an audience. He has got a very good sense of humour and narrates humorously how we did, especially after a disappointing day,” Arun points out.

Sharma has been at his best this edition of Indian Premier League (IPL). Wednesday’s game against Sunrisers Hyderabad was a one off in which he went for 16.25 an over in his four and with one wicket. But in the previous matches, he has made many a leading batsman dance to his swinging deliveries. He dismissed Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli in quick succession not once but twice this season. In eight matches, so far he has taken 14 wickets. As his coaches Arun and Bhupinder Singh (Sr) of Punjab Ranji Trophy say, he will only get better from tough situations.

The 20-year-old right-arm medium-pacer from Patiala is one who thrives on challenges. Arun says: “He has got a big heart. When you throw a challenge, he will be the first to put his hand up. His attitude is, ‘okay there is a challenge. Here is an opportunity for me to exploit my skills, I can be a winner’. If he loses, it is fine. The mindset with which one approaches a situation is important and Sandy has this quality.”

Sharma is one who takes his practice sessions seriously. Arun says: “He throws challenges to the batsmen. He sets imaginary field and tells batsmen if they can hit him. He is hell-bent on trying different things. He is a thinking fast bowler. That’s what makes him special. What most bowlers do is they try different things after being hit. But Sandy says, ‘it is a good ball, he hit me for a six. Let me see if he hits the same good ball for another six’. That’s when you need cool head.

“I give full marks to bowlers who want to experiment. A bowler should discover himself. He is bound to make mistakes. Even if you discover one good thing about yourself, it will hold you in good stead. This boy is not afraid to experiment.”

Punjab Ranji Trophy coach and former national selector, Bhupinder Singh (Sr), says: “Sandeep puts a lot of mind to his bowling. He understands his limitations, that he is 125kmph-130kmph bowler. He has to improve on the consistency and accuracy of his both his swingers. He is an intelligent operator. He always backs himself. He is able to understand to some extent what the batsman is going to do and what he is supposed to do.”

Sharma had a fruitful 2013-14 Ranji Trophy, picking up 36 wickets in eight matches. “The key is his fitness,” says Singh. “As a coach, you always like bowlers like Sandy who don’t have to be pushed to do their work. They play to win, are unhappy with colleagues not giving 100 per cent. He is one who wants to bowl more and more. He often argues with me saying, ‘I have bowled only 22 overs a day. I can bowl 26-27 overs and I am fit’. I have seen guys who have bowled 20 overs a day and say it’s enough.”

Sharma won praise from his KXIP captain, George Bailey. “He has been awesome. His bowling has been fantastic. He is a great kid. I love his enthusiasm, love the way he trains. I have heard some really good things about him, how he impressed last year, how he has really progressed as the tournament went along and has grown in stature and confidence. We have just seen that. Like anyone, he still has got things to learn but to see that hunger, how much he wants to improve, how much he wants to get better is fantastic

On his love for challenges, Sharma told dna: “There comes a time when a bowler can think in two ways. Whoever I have spoken with including top players, including Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh, they say there are two ways of looking at challenges. Everyone is getting hit, I will also get hit. But, if I can stop the run flow, I will become a hero. If you let that situation go out of hand, how will you reach the top? But if I do well, everyone will talk about me.”

(G Krishnan qualified as an umpire from Tamil Nadu Cricket Association in 1997 before making sports journalism as a career. His other interests include wildlife and reading. Krishnan is Principal Correspondent of DNA, where the article first appeared)

World T20 League 2014

Sep 30, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Bengaluru

World T20 League 2014

Sep 30, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Bengaluru

World T20 League 2014

Oct 2, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Oct 2, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

West Indies tour of India 2014, Practice match

Oct 3, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Mumbai

More

World T20 League 2014

Sep 29, 2014  at Hyderabad

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 36 runs

World T20 League 2014

Sep 28, 2014  at Mohali

Kings XI Punjab won by 7 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 28, 2014  at Mohali

Hobart Hurricanes won by 6 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 27, 2014  at Bengaluru

Chennai Super Kings won by 13 runs

World T20 League 2014

Sep 27, 2014  at Bengaluru

Lahore Lions won by 16 runs

Photos

Cricket on Mt. Kilimanjaro

Videos

Brian Lara speaks on the art of batting

Live Cricket Score Lahore Lions vs Perth Scorchers CLT20 2014 Match 19: Lahore lose 4 wickets upfront

CLT20 2014: Lahore Lions vs Perth Scorchers Match 19 — Key Battles

Consecutive century opening partnerships in ODIs for each team

Have Manish Pandey’s T20 performances eclipsed his impressive First-Class record?

Perth Scorchers vs Lahore Lions, CLT20 2014 Match 19 at Bangalore: Perth Scorchers’ likely XI

Asian Games Asian Games 2014 Barbados Tridents Cape Cobras Champions League T20 2014 CLT20 CLT20 2014 Dolphins Incheon Asian Games 2014 India at Asian Games 2014 Kings XI Punjab Perth Scorchers

Lahore Lions vs Perth Scorchers CLT20 2014 Match 19 at Bangalore: Mitchell Marsh, Joel Paris leave Lions reeling

Lahore Lions vs Perth Scorchers CLT20 2014 Match 19 at Bangalore: Rain plays spoilsport

Mashrafe Mortaza replaces Mushfiqur Rahim as Bangladesh ODI captain

Waqar Younis not impressed on ICC’s timing of suspect bowling action

James Taylor eyeing England Test recall

Gautam Gambhir becomes second player after MS Dhoni to captain in 100 T20 matches

Lahore Lions vs Perth Scorchers Match 19 CLT20 2014: Lahore likely XI

CLT20 2014: Lahore Lions vs Perth Scorchers Match 19 — Key Battles

Consecutive century opening partnerships in ODIs for each team

Players scoring 50-plus in both innings of a Test match most number of times

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

671 Posts | 6 Fans

Kolkata Knight Riders vs Kings XI Punjab- Final Match Highlights from IPL 2014

Adding olive oil to diet may repair failing hearts

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime with 5-megapixel selfie camera launched in India, priced at Rs 15,499

Asian Games 2014 Medal Table: Vikas Gowda wins 8th silver for India, India 10th in the Medal Tally

Scientists unveil novel 3D printing method

Asian Games 2014 Live Updates: Vikas Gowda settles for silver medal in Men’s Discus Throw

Shah Rukh Khan shows off 8-pack abs at Google event, Salman Khan confesses he has none!

Samantha plays Good Samaritan!

Hrithik Roshan dares Salman Khan, will he accept it?

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here