Bowl this, bowl that, howzzat! – Thampi's mantra

Sunrisers’ new recruit, Basil Thampi, ensured he picked the fundamentals better from the IPL training at the MRF Pace Foundation.

Basil Thampi

Basil Thampi has been training at the MRF pace foundation in the lead up to the new Indian Premier League season. (File Image)   -  P. K. Ajith Kumar

Kerala pacer Basil Thampi — branded as a ‘yorker’ specialist — took four games to claim his first scalp, Chris Gayle, in the Indian Premier League (IPL) last season. The breakthroughs kept avoiding him despite roaring spells.

The 24-year-old, who cut his IPL ribbon at the now-defunct Gujarat Lions, is in no mood to delay dismissals when he turns out for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the upcoming season.

The MRF Pace Foundation here conducts a special clinic for its IPL candidates and this time, Thampi ensured he picked up the fundamentals better.

Split second scenarios

Under the supervision of former Aussie quick Glenn McGrath (also the director of the academy) and chief coach M. Senthilnathan, Thampi did as directed at the last second. “They would stand beside the stumps and during delivery time, they would command, ‘wide yorker’, ‘low full-toss’ and I had to bowl accordingly. We practiced this specifically. When I would start the run-up, I would have no idea what I would be asked to bowl,” Thampi told Sportstar on Tuesday.

Hatching imaginative match situations and power-play moments also helped. “In six balls, I was told that it’s fine if I bowl six yorkers but I have to ensure it’s a yorker or a lower full toss. I shouldn’t bowl an over-pitched delivery or a full toss; conceding a single is fine, but not a boundary,” added Thampi, who also dismissed the likes of Kieron Pollard, Virat Kohli, M.S. Dhoni and Manish Pandey in the IPL.

“Four overs, two with the new ball, along with these training methods, have made me confident of my variations. Even the runs conceded were calculated. These days, batsmen walk on the crease, so we were practicing how to bowl to them as well,” he added.

Basil Thampi Gujarat Lions

Thampi playing for Gujarat Lions during IPL-10.   -  AFP

 

Among Indians, not many fast bowlers are muscular. But Thampi, who is naturally fit, believes it is essential to shape muscles to prevent injuries. “I am just shaping what I naturally have. You have to keep the body fit and calm.”

'Thampi gets T20'

Senthilnathan feels Thampi is seasoned for the T20 format. “He has got the speed and he has understood the shortest version of the game. You need a certain kind of an idea to bowl in the T20 format. A player needs to know his strengths and weaknesses. We have worked on the strengths.”

“Before our boys go for the IPL, we tell them the areas to bowl and the kind of deliveries to bowl. We try to reduce the weakness as that will be the strength,” he said.

Amid the franchise cricket thrill, Sunrisers skipper David Warner’s involvement in the ball-tampering scandal — in the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town — left Thampi disappointed. But he still is keen to work with an iconic player like Warner. “What happened is disappointing, but he has been a winning captain for Sunrisers and he also won the Orange Cap. But this won’t affect me. As I am a new player, getting more opportunities to learn is more important,” he summed up.

Having earned an India call-up already, in the T20 series against Sri Lanka last year, a string of good spells in the IPL can escalate his chances further.