The more things change, more they remain same for Negi
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Fresh from a debut stint in the IPL, one that even saw him pocket a man-of-the-match-award for a four-wicket haul, Pawan Negi acknowledges that things have changed at least a little bit. Even as he rushes to his night T20 match of the East Delhi Cricket tournament on Wednesday he has more to manage than simply adjusting to the uneven lights provided by the temporary stands at the venue.
"It also has become a bit hard. Although I am only 19, my teammates in the club level also expect me to perform just because I have come back from the IPL. It isn't like I have suddenly become different. My friends are the same, I am playing the same tournaments as I was last year. Even my phone hasn't changed, " he smiles. True to form, he along with his club team-mate Pradeep Sangwan, are singled out by the announcer before the match of being of 'IPL fame'. That being said the all rounder who bowls left arm spin isn't short of confidence.
"My season with Delhi Daredevils has given me a lot of self belief. I played a lot of games ahead of Shahbaz Nadeem who had much more experience than me in the first class level. Also when you play against some of the biggest names then everything else becomes easy," he says.
There are similarities he acknowledges. "In the club level it is hard to bowl because the pitches are flat, the boundaries are small and the batsmen all want to hit you. Its just like the IPL but of course you don't have someone like Chris Gayle batting against you," he says. Speaking of his IPL experience, Negi admits the Jamaican was the toughest player he had ever bowled to. In one match Gayle had hit him for four sixes — three of them in a row — enroute a hundred. Negi however sees only the positives. "Even that was a learning experience. Before playing in the IPL, I would bowl a very predictable line and length. Once you come under a bit of pressure, I learned how to adapt. Instead of changing my length too much, I now bowl with a lot of variation especially in speed so that the batsman is always guessing. That has worked in the local matches but there is still a long way to go," he says.
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