Sreenath Aravind: ‘Every match is a lesson for me’

Sreenath Aravind has become one of Royal Challengers Bangalore’s trusted assets.

Even though he is yet to provide tangible hints that he is on track to statistically match the last year’s performances, the fact that he has played four of the team's six matches – including the last three – should tell the confidence the team's think-tank reposes in S. Aravind.   -  K. Murali Kumar

As a team, Royal Challengers Bangalore is high on swagger. It is captained by Virat Kohli, arguably the most marketable name in Indian cricket now, has a maverick in A. B. de Villiers and boasts of the 'Universe Boss' in Chris Gayle.

S. Aravind comes nowhere close. But the unassuming 33-year-old has become one of the team's trusted assets. In RCB's run to the final last year, his was an important hand, particularly in the second half of the season when the side literally had to win every match. Even in 2011 when RCB reached the final, he was the leading wicket-taker with 21 scalps.

This season, even though he is yet to provide tangible hints that he is on track to statistically match the above performances, the fact that he has played four of the team's six matches – including the last three – should tell the confidence the team's think-tank reposes in him. Last season, until the second half, he hadn't even played two consecutive games.

“Every match is a lesson for me,” Aravind said here on Thursday. “As a bowling unit, we are working together. We’re not thinking much about the batsmen. We’re concentrating on what we can do. I think we are clicking well.”

In a departure from the past, the Bengaluru wicket has seen runs hard to come by. The fans' endless appetite for gigantic totals might have taken a hit but it would have no doubt warmed the hearts of bowlers like Aravind.

“The tenth edition was supposed to be a batsman’s paradise everywhere,” he said. “But we are used to that. Every year is challenging. Change of pace works well here. I think Bangalore wicket is behaving well.”

Being a left-armer helps in this, asserts Aravind. RCB, in fact, has a glut of left-arm bowlers. In addition to the spinners in Iqbal Abdullah, Pawan Negi and Tabriaz Shamsi, there are the pacers Aniket Choudhary and Tymal Mills.

“Left-armers make a huge impact for us and we’re variation bowlers,” claimed Aravind. “Mills is a very handy bowler. He is very quick. But he also has a delivery [which be bowls] with the back of the hand. I used to bowl that before. Over the years my bowling has changed a bit. So now I am learning from him.”

On the other hand, what has certainly not been a departure from the past has been RCB's slow start. But it did manage to arrest the slide by beating Gujarat Lions in the last match.

“Every year it happens like that,” Aravind said. “Now we are in a better position where we don’t have to win every game. The last match ended on a positive note. I take that (the positive things) more than the negatives.”