It was a surprising move when the Royal Challengers Bangalore decided to trade in Harshal Patel and Daniel Sams from the Delhi Capitals ahead of the IPL 2021 auction, despite both of them performing poorly last season.
Harshal Patel had taken just 3 wickets at an average of 30.00 in 5 games for the Capitals in the UAE; Sams went wicketless in 3 games last season and leaked runs at 9.50.
However, not only did RCB roped back Harshal Patel, who had been with them from 2012 to 2017, but also handed him the death overs duty right from the first game. The Gujarat-born pacer stood up to the challenge and the role in the season opener against the Mumbai Indians returning with a five-wicket haul.
He continued on a wicket-taking spree and picked at least two scalps in 6 of the 7 matches before the season was suspended. Currently, he dons the purple cap with 17 wickets at an outstanding average of 15.12.
Virat sent me a message, “welcome back, you are going to play here”: Harshal Patel
The 30-year-old revealed that the skipper, Virat Kohli, sent with a welcome back text as soon as he was traded to RCB and told him that he will play at RCB. Harshal Patel says this gesture by the captain boosted confidence in him.
The Haryana seamer adds that Kohli always gives space to his players to play with their own plans. He lauds the skipper’s understanding of the conditions when the bowlers are taken for runs on batting-friendly surfaces.
At the time of the tournament’s suspension RCB is at the third spot on the points table with 5 wins in 7 matches.
“The moment I was traded, Virat sent me a message, “welcome back, you are going to play here”. That made a big impact in my confidence and I realised this is a team where I can finally showcase all my skills.
“ViHe gives you the space to do your thing. Even if you don’t execute at times he understands better than anybody that on a batter’s day, if they get hold of a bowler, you are going to go for runs,” Harshal Patel told Hindustan Times.