IPL performances cannot be deemed success yet, believes Shreyas Gopal
He has been in great form for the Royals, with 5 wickets to his name in 6 matches.
Wrist spinners have been the mantra for success for each IPL team this season. One such wrist spinner who has been wreaking havoc for his side is the 24-year-old Shreyas Gopal. Despite the Rajasthan Royals having quite a topsy-turvy season so far with three wins out of six, the Karnataka lad has been more than impressive with the ball.
Shreyas, who was a part of the Mumbai Indians until the squad overhaul which took place this season, hardly got to play any matches in the IPL. After being picked up by the Royals for his base price of Rs. 20 lakhs this season, he has a been a part of the playing XI from the first match itself.
Overall, he has picked up 5 wickets in 6 games at an economy rate of just over 7. He is the joint highest wicket-taker for the Royals so far and has the best economy rate among the bowlers who have bowled more than four overs.
However, he feels that he still has a long way to go before he can call this a success.
"If I call it a success, I am on the wrong track, so I definitely can’t call it a success. I’m very grateful to have been a part of the playing XI for all the matches so far in the tournament. I had to wait for quite some time to play and I'm glad it has come this season. The important thing is to stick to the gameplan the team management puts forth, play according to the situation and it's also important to play for the team rather than for individual success," said Shreyas.
He has troubled the best of batsmen, picking up the biggest wickets of his career during the tournament. He took the match away from the Royal Challengers Bangalore by picking up the wickets of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. In the match that followed, against the Chennai Super Kings, he continued his good run of form and bagged the wickets of Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni. Unfortunately, the Royals ended up losing that match by a big margin.
"Any young cricketer would dream of getting these cricketers out. It's the best feeling. Having said that, the game is between bat and ball and how you bowl on that day and how you assess the conditions. Not getting ahead of myself, I would like to stick to the basics and play the best cricket for Rajasthan in the upcoming matches."
Shreyas, who draws inspiration from the legendary Anil Kumble, has a bowling action similar to that of the former Indian cricketer. Having worked with him during his time at the Mumbai Indians, he has learnt a lot from the spin legend.
And now, he is getting to work with another spin legend in the form of Shane Warne, who serves as a mentor and guide to the side.
"Warny and Anil sir are very similar in their teachings as they are both very aggressive and positive. It is great to have Warne as a guide and mentor as he has been able to guide me, which is better for me personally and additionally, the team is also enjoying his presence in the dressing room," he said.
Apart from Shreyas, another Karnataka all-rounder, Krishnappa Gowtham, has made a big impact for the Royals. He took the Royals to a thrilling victory in their previous match against the Mumbai Indians, scoring 31 in just 11 deliveries. He led the side to victory when their backs were against the wall and when they were staring at defeat.
"We were extremely happy - winning at home makes it that much better. We need to look at winning every game possible now to make the playoffs," said Shreyas about the thrilling finale against the Mumbai Indians.
Both Gopal and Gowtham have played a lot of matches together for Karnataka and they seem to have gelled well for the Royals.
"It’s good to have Gowtham as my teammate. Having said that, I have played with most of the other players apart from the foreigners, but it is good to have another player from Karnataka here, it helps increase the unity."
The Royals would be a bit disappointed with their season so far, winning just three out of the six matches they have played. They suffered a big blow prior the tournament when Steve Smith had to travel back to Australia after being barred from participating in the IPL. With Ajinkya Rahane at the helm now, they will look to bounce back and go all the way.
"No team can win all 14 games, they will suffer some defeats and have some lows. We need to gather the positives from previous games and move forward and try to win the remaining matches. Everyone needs to contribute - put the best foot forward and the results will then speak for themselves."
Shreyas is no stranger to winning the IPL title, having done so twice with the Mumbai Indians. He has gained a lot of experience with the defending champions and will look to apply the knowledge he received there to the Royals think-tank as well.
"I saw some amazing cricket with the Mumbai Indians. I didn't get to play too much there. I'm getting to play now so I am trying to use all the knowledge according to what the team needs. Each team has a gameplan and I need to play according to the gameplan. That’s exactly what I'm trying to do," he concluded.
With the way he is performing, he will be one of the key players for the Royals for the rest of the season and with the increasing importance given to wrist spinners these days, we could see him make a debut for the Indian cricket team soon.