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‘Mitch’s tips have paid off’

Calcutta: Not just Glenn Maxwell and David Miller, but Sandeep Sharma, too, has played an important role behind Kings XI Punjab’s unbeaten run so far in IPL VII.

With seven wickets from three appearances, the young pacer, importantly, has been able to reduce the workload of Kings XI’s spearhead Mitchell Johnson. With back-to-back Man of the Match awards, Sandeep has certainly established himself as a vital cog of the Kings XI line-up.

Talking about playing alongside Johnson, Sandeep emphasised on the advice he has got so far from the Aussie pacer. “Mitchell and I are completely different type of bowlers. So, there isn’t much I can take from him technically.

“But what I have been learning immensely from him is how to prepare myself for the match during practice sessions, how to conduct myself confidently on the field and how to plan my moves based on the batsmen and situation.

“For instance, against Kolkata Knight Riders, I was bowling my last over and was hit for boundaries off the first two balls.

“Mitchell came to me and said that the bowling plan and the field were for a top-order batsman and won’t work against the tail-enders. He asked me to bowl straight length balls from over the wicket instead of going for variations and trying to create angles.

“He knew that the lower-order batsmen will find it tough to hit the simple balls and that will get me their wickets. He was absolutely right… His tips have paid off,” the 20-year-old told the IPL’s official website.

Lakshmipathy Balaji’s experience, too, has come in handy for Sandeep. “Balapaaji has been really helpful when it comes to preparing me for situations where I might get hit for runs and need to maintain my cool.”