Daredevilry fizzled, Negi ready for the Royal challenge

Pawan Negi is not letting last season's failures affect him, and is prepared for a fresh start in the IPL.

Pawan Negi... Ready to play his part...   -  Sudhakara Jain

By his own admission, Pawan Negi did not have a great Indian Premier League (IPL) last year. The all-rounder played eight matches for Delhi Daredevils, scoring 57 runs and taking a solitary wicket with his left-arm spin.

Negi, who had been signed for a hefty Rs.8.5 crore, was promptly released by Delhi. At this year's auction, the 24-year-old's services were acquired by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), which was in search of a bowling all-rounder.

Negi has not let last season's failures affect him, and is prepared for a fresh start in the IPL.

“I did not have a very good IPL last year but all players go through that phase,” he said at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Monday.

“After that, I worked really hard in practice, and tried to correct my my weaknesses. Not once did not performing well make me feel low. The only thought I had in mind was to keep working hard.”

Negi denied that the huge price tag had weighed him down at Delhi.

“Any team that I play for, I want to do well; the price tag hardly matters. I did not feel any extra pressure because of it,” he said.

Since he arrived in Bengaluru last week, Negi has worked closely with the RCB head coach Daniel Vettori.

“He has been my idol for a long time. Being a left-arm spinner, he is the best person to help me. He has spoken to me about things like how to grip the ball, and what lines to bowl,” he said.

The Kohli influence

Virat Kohli and A.B. de Villiers, who had arrived the night before, were at the ground with the rest of the side on Monday, facing throw-downs. The mere presence of Kohli, who will be out of action for two weeks, but will still travel to Hyderabad, appears to have raised the team's morale.

“It is wonderful having him around,” Negi said. “He isn't playing, yet he is with us throughout. He is speaking to each player individually, motivating us. It lifts the spirit of the whole team.”

Negi is ready to play his part.

“The most that I have improved is in the mental aspect,” he said. “I have received only positive vibes here. There is no pressure on me that I am playing for such a big team. If I get a chance, I will do well.”