Home > Features > Interviews >

Munaf Patel: Shocked initially at not being picked in IPL 2014 auction

Munaf Patel last played for India in 2011 © Getty Images
Munaf Patel last played for India in 2011 © Getty Images

Munaf Patel was one of the many success stories to emerge from rural India in the last one decade. With an impressive Test debut and his focus on line and length, Munaf was on his way to fulfil India’s dream of finding a genuine pace bowler. Injuries and fitness issues has kept him away from the Indian team, while a new generation of pacers have come through the ranks. Munaf has not yet given up. Having worked upon his fitness, the pacer claims he is bowling as good as he used to at the start of his career. He is a vital cog in the Baroda team and is busy helping his side clinch victories with no Indian Premier League commitments ahead. The member of the 2011 World Cup winning squad speaks to Abhijit Banare on the sidelines of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in Mumbai.

 

Cricketcountry (CC): How do you look back at the domestic season which is nearing its end with this Twenty20 (T20) series?

Munaf Patel (MP): I am happy with how the overall season went for me. I had focused hard on my fitness. My rhythm has been good. And it is because of my fitness I have managed to perform consistently across formats, in Ranji [Trophy], then the domestic one day and in T20. When you’re physically in good shape, my bowling was in good touch.

CC: Fitness, injuries are something for which you were criticised for a long time, how do you respond to that?

MP: The last ODI [One-Day International] I played in Cardiff in September 2011, I had hurt myself on the field. And from thereon I haven’t made a return. Injuries aren’t something you can control. No fast bowler gets injured deliberately. I have always been committed to the game and have worked upon my fitness.

CC: Whom do you credit the improvement in fitness to?

MP: The advantage this season was that Baroda Cricket Association [BCA] has appointed Matthew Dwyer for two years to look after the team’s fitness and improve the team’s standards in the field. He was there with Mumbai Indians [MI] earlier. Dwyer and our physio, Mahesh have spent a lot of time with me and made a noticeable change in my fitness standards. And it’s reflecting in my performance as well.

CC: And about the improvement in fielding…

MP: Jonty Rhodes and Gary Kirsten. The stint with the Indian team under Kirsten brought a lot of improvement in me. It was all about being mentally strong to bring the change in myself and once I believed, things fell in place.

CC: There is a lot of assistance from mental conditioning coaches in improving a player. Now, has that helped you anytime?

MP: I don’t believe much in those. I have been more focused into my bowling. When not in form, I go back to bowling in the nets and work hard there. It doesn’t work for me, but probably batsmen do get help by the presence of such mental conditioning coaches.

CC: You have focused on accuracy a lot. How does your bowling differ from T20s to the long format?

MP: I mainly look at situation and the batsman facing. In long format you look at pitching consistently. But in T20s, it depends on situation. But in the death overs I aim fuller. Overall, Varying your length is important in the T20s, but I don’t use short balls much.

CC: Eric Simmons, India’s former bowling coach rated you highly back then. How has Simmons helped you in growing as a fast bowler?

MP: I value the experience working with him back then a lot. He played a major role in improving my basics than anything else. If your basics are in place, then you can do anything, so is the case with a fast bowler. So, Simmons helped out a lot.

CC: What are the other experiences which shaped you as a fast bowler?

MP: I am indebted to the stint with the MRF Pace Academy. I was a raw fast bowler with little understanding about how to go about my training. Dennis Lillee and TA Sekar had worked a lot on my growth as a fast bowler. And then came the contribution of Simmons. Once I was doing well, I got to work with Shaun Pollock, while playing for Mumbai Indians. With such experienced coaches and players, I did well.

CC: One of the criticisms with Indian pacers is that, they start well but cut down on pace later and you have been one among them as well. Why?

MP: I feel there are not many pacers who have cut down on pace. Umesh Yadav has been around since a long time and he has maintained it. Varun Aaron too has been bowling with the same pace. Irfan Pathan cut down because of injuries. I think fear of injury has been one of the main reasons bowlers cut down on pace. Form me, the focus on line and length led to cutting down on my pace. Ultimately, reducing the pace is the bowler’s own decision and if he feels he can do well by reducing pace, it’s alright.

CC: Fast bowlers and sledging go hand in hand. Even you have had your own share of sledging at batsmen. What do you think of it?

MP: I feel sledging is alright. I have sledged many times though, never crossed a certain limit. It does work a lot in unsettling the concentration of the batsman. But in international level, most of the batsmen are mentally strong and don’t get caught into it easily. I honestly don’t remember any past incident in my international career when a batsman has fallen for sledging. But in domestic it mostly works.

CC: You weren’t picked during this year’s IPL auction. What was your first reaction on it?

MP: I thought a lot over it. It did come as a shock. Initially, I thought they rejected me due to my fitness. It started playing on my mind, because I felt I was among the top 10 Indian bowlers in the IPL. But I have moved on. I am focusing on maintaining my fitness, and with Baroda in the knockouts, I can help the team do well here and then take a break.

 

CC: Many players look forward to the IPL to make a comeback. But right now, without an IPL contract, what are your plans on making an India comeback?

MP: Many of those things are not in my hand. It’s completely on the selectors now. My only chance is to come back again next season and perform well in the domestic matches. It’s not necessary to have an IPL contract and then only you manage to find a place in Indian team. My job is to give my 100 per cent and bowl consistently.

(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:30 IST)   at Dhaka

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Hamilton

More

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 72 runs

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 6 wkts

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test at Dubai

Videos

AB de Villiers praises team after win in 1st ODI

Viv Richards’ 6/41 bowls West Indies to a thrilling victory over India

Asad Shafiq emerges as dependable No 6 for Pakistan

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Mitchell Johnson shows signs of effectiveness on unhelpful surfaces

South Africa vs New Zealand 2014: Vital for Brendon McCullum to find form quickly

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 India New Zealand New Zealand vs South Africa New Zealand vs South Africa 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of New Zealand 2014 South Africa vs New Zealand South Africa vs New Zealand 2014

Duleep Trophy, East Zone vs South Zone, 1st semi-final at Rohtak: South win by innings and 118 runs

Live Streaming: Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 3 at Dubai

Saqlain Mushtaq finishes month-long remedial work with Saeed Ajmal

New Zealand vs South Africa 2014, 2nd ODI at Mt Maunganui: South Africa clinch series with 72-run victory

Live Scorecard: Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test Day 3 at Dubai

Sarfaraz Ahmed may have trumped the Akmals as Pakistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman across formats

Don Bradman — even if every chance he ever gave in his career was accepted, he would still remain head and shoulders above the others

Len Hutton’s hundred gets reported as illness

Viv Richards’ 6/41 bowls West Indies to a thrilling victory over India

Asad Shafiq emerges as dependable No 6 for Pakistan

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

642 Posts | 9 Fans

Virat Kohli's Family Meets Anushka Sharma

अभिनेत्री हुमा कुरैशी ओरिफ्लेम की ब्रांड एंबेसडर

Has Bigg Boss 8 made Karishma Tanna the most hated person?

Pranab Mukherjee returns home after visit to Norway, Finland

Revealed: First look of Amitabh Bachchan-Farhan Akhtar’s Do!

7 reasons why having sex during pregnancy is great for your health

Videocon Infinium Graphite with gesture control feature launched, priced at Rs 10,499

Rupee up 19 paise against dollar in early trade

Twitter introduces Audio Cards to listen to music directly from your timeline

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here