Monday, 6 October 2014

'Fleming never looks at me as T20 bowler'

NEW DELHI: When Pawan Negi stamped himself on the Champions League T20 final with a five-wicket haul for Chennai Super Kings, a question popped up in several minds - where was he till now?

Having made his debut for Delhi in 2011, the 21-year-old left-arm spinner has managed to feature in just two first-class matches and seven List A games.

However, he is been around in the IPL for a couple of years now, having played for Delhi Daredevils before joining CSK - making him a regular feature in T20 cricket with 33 games for Delhi in the domestic T20 championships.

But as he craves for the limelight, even if it comes through T20, Negi is more inclined towards getting opportunities in the longer format of the game in domestic cricket.

"IPL is needed to stay in the limelight but I understand if I have to play at the highest level, I need to perform in the domestic season. I hope I get an opportunity for Delhi this year," Negi, who also is a handy bat in the lower middle-order, told TOI on Sunday while adding, "Even Stephen Fleming (CSK coach) keeps telling me that the art is in bowling in the four-day and five-day formats. He never thinks of me as a T20 bowler."

Negi has spent quite some time on the bench while he has been at CSK. And it's not been easy for him. He says that it's coach Fleming who has kept motivating him along with fellow spinners R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.

"Dhoni has only spoken to me only during matches but Fleming has always asked me to be ready as he is the one makes the XI for a game. Ashwin and Jadeja also talk to me during practice sessions and off field too."

Talking about bringing in variations in his bowling, Negi was quick to assert that left-arm spinners generally don't have the array of variations the off-spinners have and bowling with a clean action is a priority for him.

"A left-arm spinner generally thrives with the arm-ball and the quicker one to go with the slowly looped delivery. Even Jadeja doesn't have that many variations. For me, the challenge is to keep bowling with short sleeves," he quipped, with a chuckle.

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