Aakash Chopra Harshal Patel
Aakash Chopra Harshal Patel (Credits: Instagram)

Former Indian batter turned expert analyst Aakash Chopra has claimed that north-Indian IPL franchise Punjab Kings were desperate to sign veteran right-arm pacer Harshal Patel to have another local bowler to pair with left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh who regularly features for the Indian national team.

Aakash Chopra feels that it was important for the Punjab-based franchise to buy a homegrown experienced bowler as most of their pace battery are filled with overseas pacers like Kagiso Rabada, Nathan Ellis, and Sam Curran. And perhaps that was the reason why Punjab Kings went all in for Harshal Patel.

The 33-year-old Gujarat-born cricketer has been a part of the IPL circuit for over a decade now and he brings in wealth of experience with him. Not just experience but a lot of variety and versatility in his bowling as well. Harshal knows Indian pitches just as well as the likes of Jasprit Bumrah or Mohammed Siraj.

Harshal Patel is also known for his efficiency in the death overs and he is capable of deceiving batters with his accurate line length and capability of pulling off cutters. He has experience playing more than 90 IPL matches and for all such reasons, Punjab Kings did not think twice before splashing over 10 crores and making him one of the most expensive local players in the IPL.

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“They had an Indian fast bowler in the form of Arshdeep Singh but apart from him, all their fast bowlers were overseas, whether it was Kagiso Rabada, Nathan Ellis, or Sam Curran. So they needed a partner for Arshdeep who could provide some help in the death overs or with the new ball.” – Aakash Chopra said via his YouTube channel.

Another thing that Harshal Patel brings with him is decent batting skills that have seen him contribute with the bat from the lower order whenever teams require him to do so. He has an IPL career strike rate of nearly 130, which is a decent one given he comes to bat at number 9-10.

Aakash Chopra Believes Relying On Foreign Recruitments Was Not Right And Harshal Patel’s Arrival Will Help Them

At first, everyone was shocked to see Punjab Kings spend 11.75 crores on Harshal Patel who had an average season last year. Although there are no doubts about his wicket-taking prowess his 2023 season with the Royal Challengers Bangalore was a quiet one, picking up 14 wickets in 13 outings also with an expensive economy rate of almost 10.

But in his long IPL career, Harshal has shown that he is more than capable of staging a decent comeback after having a disappointing season and Aakash Chopra believes that Punjab Kings did the right thing by going after him in the auction.

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“Although I like their overseas recruits – Rabada and Nathan Ellis, a lot, it’s not the right thing if you are forced to play both of them with Sam Curran. So they bought Harshal Patel for 11.75 crores. They were committed, they said they wanted this player at all costs.” – Aakash Chopra concluded. 

The 33-year-old right-arm medium pacer has had 2 separate stints with the RCB and has also spent 2 seasons with the Delhi Capitals, picking up 111 wickets in 91 IPL outings.