Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) pacer Harshal Patel on Saturday said it was beyond him how running the non-striker out when he is backing up too far has been considered to be against the spirit of the game.
The mode of dismissal, informally termed ‘Mankading’, will soon no longer be unfair play as the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) on Wednesday made nine changes to its Code of Laws, which are set to come into effect from October this year.
“‘Mankading’ is very absurd for us to discuss as a cricketing community. If it is in the rulebook, how can it be against the spirit of the game?” he questioned select media at the RCB Bar & Cafe in Bengaluru.
Elucidating his point further, the Purple Cap holder in the Indian Premier League (IPL) added, “Let me give an example. People say you shouldn’t run after a throw hits your bat. Say you’re playing the World Cup final, and you need a run to win. Are you not going to run? I will always run because I play to win. And win by the laws of the game. If the law of the game allows me to do something, I will definitely do it.”
‘Can’t say much on saliva ban’
On being asked of his views on the ban on using saliva to shine the ball to prevent potential ball-tampering, Harshal said, “I can’t say a lot about the saliva thing because I haven’t played much red-ball cricket in the past two years. I don’t know how much of an effect it is going to have on my ability to swing the ball. But if you are playing in cold conditions, people are not going to sweat. How are they going to shine the ball?”
‘Another slower ball’
Harshal’s record-equaling 32-wicket haul in last year’s IPL vaulted him into contention for the India side at 31. He earned the ‘Player of the Match’ award on his Twenty20 International debut against New Zealand in November 2021. However, Harshal feels there is no end to learning, and there are still key areas he can look to work on. The Ahmedabad-born cricketer said, “I feel like I have all the building blocks of a good T20 bowler or any format for that matter. I want to get tighter, accurate, and consistent with my execution because I have been playing the game at the professional level for the past 12 years. So, I understand and read the game and situation well. I have my strengths and weaknesses.
“I will continue to add different dimensions to my skillset. Like utilising angles or maybe developing another slower ball, which I can add to my armoury. Mentally, I want to be more consistent in thought. I believe consistency in action will bring about consistency in the result. I want to continue to live by the idea.”
‘ABD – father figure’
The 360-degree batting legend AB de Villiers ended his association with RCB on November 19, 2021, as he retired from all formats of the game. Harshal says it is perhaps a gaping hole, which can never be filled. “How can you not miss someone like de Villiers? I have been fortunate enough to witness some of his best knocks from the dugout. He’s been like a father figure in the team. Whenever you are feeling down, even if he doesn’t say anything to you, his presence will make you feel a bit more comfortable.”
‘Under-utilised as batter’
Harshal wants to showcase his all-round abilities in RCB colours, especially now that he has been thrust into the leadership group by Director of Cricket Operations Mike Hesson. “All I can do is I can showcase the skill (batting) during the practice games. That’s how I got the role of the death bowler earlier. I do feel I am under-utilised as a batter and have more to offer. If I can show something spectacular ahead of the tournament and the management sees that they can utilise me in certain situations, I will be very happy to subject myself to those,” said Harshal, who has been signed by the now Faf du Plessis-led franchise for Rs 10.75 crore.