The batter is moving around in the crease trying to confuse the bowler. It often works. Unless Prasidh Krishna is the bowler. The Rajasthan Royals (RR) fast bowler has developed a knack for reading the batter’s last-minute moves. He follows them aiming to cramp them for room or goes wider to put it beyond their arc. Beyond the skills, it’s the mind games in the heat of the action which make sports fascinating to watch.
A rare Indian fast bowler who, because of his ability to generate bounce, is effective with the hit-the-deck style, the 26-year-old is a vital cog in the RR bowling unit. He is their second highest wicket-taker behind purple cap holder Yuzvendra Chahal with 12 wickets at an economy rate of 7.92.
Excerpts from an interview:
Q: How is it being part of the Rajasthan Royals bowling unit?
(The) Season’s been good. When the team was picked I was excited, we had exciting players, a good group of support staff as well. (I am) enjoying my time here with RR. We have had our share of victories, looking forward to continuing that. I consider us as one of the better units. We have experience and quality and the guys who haven’t yet got to play, there’s a lot of potential in there (as well).
Q: Bowling in T20 cricket is the most difficult task yet you seem to be in control most of the time. What’s working for you?
It’s just about being clear at the top of the mark so that you can run in and execute your plans.
Q: Captain Sanju Samson has often turned to you for the 19th over. How do you approach that crucial over?
I have always been excited about bowling in a crunch situation. If you can get the team through, nothing like it. I have days when things have not gone my way so I have learnt from them. I have played 30-35 games now, so I am using that experience. As for turning to me, it is about who has how many overs left at that time. I am happy to be doing this job of bowling the crunch overs for RR.
Q: When you know that one over can be the difference between victory and defeat, how do you deal with nerves?
I enjoy it. Obviously, there is pressure. (But) the clearer you are , the calmer you are and that’s all I am looking to do. I know my fields, I have set my game plans, done my homework about what I should be bowling to whom. Then it is just about going there and executing things.
Q: Which performance has been most satisfying?
I had given away two sixes to (Marcus) Stoinis (vs LSG in the 19th over), it was a good lesson for me. (About the satisfying ones) The one over to Pollard against MI, the one in the match against KKR and against DC. It’s just a collection of being aware of that particular situation and trusting the practice you have put in.
Q: Your performances show you are an improved version of yourself. What kind of work has gone into this?
The most important fact is the amount of cricket I have played coming into RR. I have been in touch with the game, was part of the India team against the West Indies and then we had Ranji Trophy. I had enough overs under my belt, so my body was feeling good. I was in the bowling rhythm. Even after coming here, the bowling unit has sat down and had enough discussions as to what each one needs to be doing in each situation. So, it is a collection of everything put together.
Q: Most bowlers have clear roles, either in powerplays or middle overs. You are being used in different situations. How quickly must you gather your thoughts when you are told that you would get the next over?
In T20 you need to be prepared to bowl any over and I know when there is a crunch situation, I might come into bowl. I go and speak to Sanju, there’s Jos (Buttler), Boulty (Trent Boult), there’s enough experience around. We have our discussions, it’s just about being prepared. That is another thing we have spoken about, anybody could be bowling any over in any particular situation. As long as you are prepared for it, it shouldn’t be too tough.
Q: What did the Man of the Series award against West Indies mean to you?
Personally, I was only thinking about the process, taking one ball at a time. It has taken some effort from me to be thinking like that and for me to realise that has worked. I ended up getting nine wickets. If I can carry that (approach) playing wherever it will be a great thing for me.
Q: You have worked under Glenn McGrath and Jeff Thomson. What is the most important advice from them? Who is the coach with whom you take feedback on your bowling and discuss?
Both Glenn and Thomson gave me the freedom to be who I am, just run in and do the kind of bowling I do. Both were emphasising how important it is to be consistent. Apart from that if I have to speak to know anybody on bowling, it has been Omkar Salvi for the past four years because I was with KKR and we got along really well. So, if there is any such conversation when it comes to technical stuff I ring him up. And now that we have Lasith Malinga, I don’t think there’s anybody who has as much experience as him.
Q: We know how you approach your over but what do you tell Kuldeep Sen who is debuting this season?
He has been very impressive in practice games. Everyone knows he can bowl quick and the hard lengths. When I am talking to him all that I say is he has to remember the good areas he has to bowl, keep it very simple. If he is confident about trying something, he can go ahead and try it.