After the training session on the eve of the Ranji Trophy match against Delhi, Basil Thampi walked up to Chandran, the curator of the KCA-St. Xavier’s Stadium, and casually asked 'will it turn from the first day’. All he got for an answer was a knowing smile from the curator.
This season, playing at home, Basil has played second fiddle to the spinners. But against Bengal at Eden Gardens, on a track which helped seamers, Basil made a telling contribution to Kerala’s historic win.
And then on a surface where Delhi medium pacers were pedestrian, Basil generated pace and movement off the wicket to give Kerala early breakthroughs in both innings.
He bowled fuller and made the batsmen play more while bowling fewer loose balls. With 19 wickets, Basil is enjoying his best season in Ranji Trophy and the fast bowler is happy that he was able to change the perception that he could bowl well only with the white ball.
"I am happy with the way I have bowled with the red ball this season. During the off-season I trained a lot at the MRF pace academy with the red ball and the short training stint in Australia was also helpful.
"This season I started bowling a little more fuller and have made the batsmen play more deliveries with the new ball, as a result, I am getting wickets.
"Earlier, I was often beating the batsmen but was not getting wickets. The captain and coach have confidence in me and I am happy with my bowling and more importantly, I am contributing to the team’s win as well,’’ he said.
Honing his batting
Basil, who has also improved his batting this season, scored his maiden fifty against Madhya Pradesh. He followed it up with a cameo against Delhi to enable Kerala cross 300.
"Sachin Baby always told me that I had some ability with the bat and asked to take up batting seriously in the nets. He would admonish me for playing false strokes in the nets. I am still working hard to improve my batting,’’ he said.
Happy to be retained
Basil is happy that he has been retained by the Sunrisers Hyderabad for IPL 2019 and wants to erase the memories of last season when he earned the dubious record of having the most expensive figures in IPL.
"I am happy that Sunrisers have shown faith in my ability. Last season was a learning curve for me. I am looking forward to doing well in the coming season of IPL,’’ he said.