Mohali: After making a stellar comeback in IPL through a tight spell of 2-18 against Punjab Kings, Gujarat Titans fast bowler Mohit Sharma attributed his great match-winning performance to being made aware of bowling after the tenth over.
“I was prepared from before about my role. I knew that I would most probably have to bowl after the tenth over. Credit goes to the coach and the environment created here that everyone’s role is very clear,” he said after the game ended on Thursday night.
Mohit shined through his 2-18 in four overs, bowling slower balls and maintaining tight lines, including not bowling a single full-length delivery. Mohit also bowled 12 dot balls, taking out Jitesh Sharma and Sam Curran as he led a clinical bowling performance from Gujarat in restricting Punjab to 153/8, setting the base for the defending champions’ six-wicket win.
“I didn’t think much but I have played at Mohali for three years. I thought that it could play on the slower side. I thought I could use some variations. I was fortunate that Hardik was there so I could discuss with him whenever I wanted to try something. You just have to go back and do the same thing. You go to train and keep giving your best,” he added.
Mohit, a Purple Cap-winner in IPL 2014, had played one IPL game in 2019, one in 2020, and since then, he had been out of sight in the tournament. He linked up with the Gujarat team in their victorious run to IPL 2022 trophy as a net bowler, before becoming a main player for the ongoing tournament and taking the Player Of The Match award in Thursday’s game.
“Last year I played domestic cricket after the back surgery, but lots of people didn’t know that I still played. There was excitement but also some nervousness about getting back after such a long time – I last played three years ago. But in between I kept playing in the domestic circuit and worked hard,” he said.
During the innings break, Mohit also credited head coach Ashish Nehra for giving him a net bowler stint, which was crucial in keeping him in touch with the evolving standards of the game. “When Ashu bhai (Nehra) called me up asking me if I want to be in the team, he told me that if someone gets injured I might get a chance.”
“Obviously, if you’re playing cricket somewhere you always want to upgrade. For that, you need competitive practice. I felt what am I going to do at home? Might as well do the competitive practice, spend time in cricket, and I did that and that was good for me.”
One would have felt a decrease in stature of a bowler who played for India in the 2015 ODI World Cup becoming a net bowler, but Mohit didn’t see it that way. “Being a net bowler is not a bad thing. You’re getting good exposure, you’re with good players. Unless you’re in a competitive environment your cricket will not evolve.”
“In my case, the atmosphere created by Ashu bhai, or Vikram Solanki and Gary Kirsten… the net bowlers who are with us this year, they are a part of the team and we all stay together like a team. It was the same with me as well. We were all with the team,” he concluded.