IPL 2013: Mohit Sharma credits Ranji Trophy performance for successful CSK stint

CSK pacer Mohit Sharma says taking the scalps of Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh in IPL 2013 are his most cherished wickets © PTI

Bangalore: May 19, 2013

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) pacer Mohit Sharma has credited his Ranji Trophy performances for his successful stint in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2013.

Sharma is the sixth highest wicket-taker in the 2012-13 Ranji Trophy season with 37 scalps to his name.

Sharma has been one of the revelations for CSK this season. The Haryana seamer has taken 17 wickets in 13 matches for CSK so far, helping them to seal top spot in the standings.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men have been the most consistent side in IPL history. They have made it into the final on each of the previous five occasions barring one, when they reached the semi-finals in 2009.

This time around they have a well balanced attack with a strong core of Indian players. In previous seasons it seemed that they lacked an Indian pacer of note. But this season Sharma has managed to fill the gap.

“I’ve had a really successful first IPL season but there’s still a long way to go. The most crucial matches will come up now in the Playoffs and it’s important to do even better in this last phase of the tournament. I hope I can continue to do well in the knockout matches as well,” said Sharma to IPLT20.com.

His story goes just before the pre-planning started for IPL 2013. CSK’s bowling coach Andy Bichel oversaw a trial of a few uncapped seamers from all corners of the country and selected four. Mohit Sharma was one of them.

“I don’t think Andy Bichel would have even seen me bowling before the CSK trial. It was all due to my first-class performance. If I am standing here today it’s purely because of my first-class performance and all credit should go to Haryana Cricket Association and my state team,” said Sharma.

The 24-year-old said playing in the Ranji Trophy has helped settle down in the IPL. “I have been playing Ranji Trophy for the last two years but I’ve played a lot of age group cricket before that.

“I played three-four years of Under-19 cricket before getting a chance in the Ranji Trophy. I have been watching the IPL since the first season and was a little nervous initially when I got my first chance. But now I’m very well used to it. It’s become a sort of routine now and has got into the muscle memory.”

Transformation from Ranji cricket to T20 cricket could be difficult, especially in the IPL but Sharma said it is all about sticking to the basics. “The biggest thing I’ve learnt from the IPL is the importance of sticking to your basics no matter what level you play at.

“Instead of getting carried away with experimenting, do what you do best. It’s always your basics that will take you till the very end.”

He also said that accuracy is his key strength and that improving his out-swinger has proved beneficial. With an economy of 6.23, Sharma has proved most useful in the Powerplays.

“I have been given the role of bowling in the Powerplays. But the only instruction I was given was to stick to whatever I have been doing so far, not think too much and try to remain as blank as I can.

“The coach and captain told me that whatever I have done on the cricket field so far as brought me into the IPL and the same will take me forward in my career.”

Sharma has picked up a few cherished scalps this season, but two of them stand out. “One is that of Viru paaji [Virender Sehwag]. The fact that I dismissed him in both our matches against Delhi Daredevils makes it all the more special.

“Another very cherished wicket of mine is that of Yuvi paaji [Yuvraj Singh]. These are the two wickets I won’t forget for the rest of my life.”