Harshal Patel (L) revealed the chat he had with AB de Villiers on anxiety issues. (P.C.:BwC Youtube & iplt20.com)
Harshal Patel has grown into one of the most reliable death bowlers for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). One of the main reasons for this is his ability to use his variations to perfection under pressure. He keeps his cool in crunch moments and more often than not, gets it spot on.
But that wasn’t always the case. The 31-year-old revealed that he used to suffer from anxiety, especially on match days. He stated that he needed to use the washroom multiple times and couldn’t ease his nerves until he bowled his first ball.
Speaking on the YouTube show, ‘Breakfast with Champions’, here’s what Harshal Patel had to say about how he dealt with anxiety:
“I went through a cycle of crippling pre-game anxiety. Like I would have to go and pee probably once every two minutes, right from when I wake up on game day to the moment where I bowl the first ball. The anxiety was so bad and I used to get so exhausted that I would want the match to end so that I could go and sleep. I still have it but now I look at it as a part of the game.”
Patel also revealed how even a T20 star like AB de Villiers struggled a bit with anxiety and how the veteran helped him cope with it. He said:
“I remember probably last season when I was having a conversation with AB. He said the same thing, ‘I am pissing myself before every game.’ If that is happening to somebody like AB de Villiers, who am I? You get an affirmation that you’re not alone.”
“That was the first time I actually sold myself to anyone” – When Harshal Patel requested RCB to play him
Harshal Patel wasn’t a regular in the RCB setup during his initial stint with the franchise. In the 2016 IPL season, the pacer played just five games and picked up a solitary wicket.
He fell so far behind in the pecking order that despite RCB having an underwhelming IPL 2017 season, they didn’t even try him until their last league game against the Delhi Daredevils. On this, Harshal Patel said:
“I played five games in 2016 and didn’t play anything after that. Then the same thing in 2017. I vividly remember Avinash Vaidya had called me in the room and he said that Dan Vettori wants to talk to me. So he met me at the breakfast area at Ritz Carlton and he said, ‘We don’t see you playing for the next 4-5 games. We are sending you home but we will call you back.’ “
Harshal Patel also spoke about how he requested the-then RCB coach Daniel Vettori to give him a game that season. He proved himself by picking up three wickets against the Daredevils and winning the Man of the Match award. He said:
“It was the epitome of rejection as I am not even a part of the team. I remember after 4-5 games when RCB were knocked out and we were not going to qualify. I messaged Vettori saying give me a game. That was the first time I actually sold myself to anyone.”
From playing just six games across IPL 2016 and 2017 for RCB to becoming one of the first names on the team sheet now, it shows just how far Harshal Patel has come in his career.