Bengaluru, May 27: Shreyas Gopal came up with an impressive performance for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL 2019, bagging 20 wickets with his leg-spin and that included the coveted scalps of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. Ahead of his next assignment against Sri Lanka A for India A, Shreays looked back at his success in IPL and the way forward for him in a chat with MyKhel. Excerpts.
The IPL 2019 went fine with you taking 20 wickets. What have you gained from the season?
I am happy about that but I would like to think that it is a start for me. It was a platform that showed me what to do to do well at this level but also I need to put in a lot more hard work and as I said this is just a beginning for me. I need to continue what I have been doing and keep my work ethics high.
Now, you've two good seasons with Rajasthan Royals since joining them ahead of IPL 2018. What has clicked for you at RR?
I am very thankful to RR for picking me and showing faith in me. It is the belief (in his own ability) factor and the backing that I got from the team management, the kind of inputs, the kind of strategies, and the opportunity that I got to work with Shane Warne and Sai (Sairaj Bahutule) sir, then Ish (Sodhi), and they have played a lot international and first-class cricket, worked well for me. I was trying to tap into their experience and got to understand the inside aspects of the game and then take them and put them into my cricket. You need to find a balance between your plan and the team's plan and if we are on one line, then you can be on the right track.
You spoke about interacting with cricketers like Warne, Bahutule at RR and you'd a chance to tap in Anil Kumble's experience while being a part of the Mumbai Indians. What have you learned from these top class cricketers? Is it technical or the mental side of the game?
It's more tactical aspect that I look to learn from them. Technical side is one thing, but after a while cricket is more about the tactical battle and these legends can teach you about the mind games and win certain situations while being in the right mind space, and these players had gone through such situations. It is important because you are bowling against some of the best batsmen ever to have played this sport. It is a massive challenge and they tell you how to keep your calm, back your plans and come back with confidence even your plans do not go well. Hope those things will benefit me a lot in the months to come.
How much of those sessions helped you while bowling against top-flight batsmen like Kohli and De Villiers? And you've a good degree of success against them...
As a bowler, I understand that you cannot have set plans for these batsmen because they are so versatile, have so many shots. And you need to back your plans and try to execute them in the best possible way. After that, you need to accept the outcome but as long as you and the team have a plan and you are going by that will give you the best chance to get them out and winning the match. You can't have set plans but try to assess the conditions, the wicket, the situation and bowl accordingly.
Apart from IPL, you'd a fine domestic season too for Karnataka, scoring upwards of 500 runs and taking 32 wickets. How do you maintain success across two vastly different formats?
It is all about keeping your work ethics. I am very fortunate that I got a chance to interact with those cricketers whom I have looked up to as a young boy from the beginning of my career. It means a lot to hear their experience and learn from them directly, it is more real. It is fortunate that I have been part of some very good dressing rooms and interact with some legends. You tend to pick their brains to find out what they did and went through to produce such levels of performance for such a long period of time of 10 or 15 of 20 years. I try to absorb those qualities into my game and stay focussed.
From 2018 to 2019, the year or so had a transforming effect on your career. Now, people have you on their watch list and how much have you felt changed as a cricketer and person?
The experiences taught me a lot. Now, people see the success part of it, the 20 wickets in the IPL or the season that I had in the Ranji Trophy. But only a few close people know the effort that I had put in, only a very few people understood the struggles that I went through. It is part of the life but you have to keep your belief going and stick to your basics, understand your game and understand yourself as a person. While in Mumbai Indians, someone like Tendulkar sir came up and said even at the age of 37 I was trying to learn and discover different things, if that is so, then we have to do and learn a lot, lot more. I am trying to stay in the present and not to get carried away by those small moments that go in your way or against you. It is a very hard thing to do but that played a big role in the career of people who have done well for the country. Hope, it will work for me too.
Now, you will be part of the India A side for the matches against Lanka A. How are you approaching the series?
I have not planned anything or kept any expectations. I just want to go out there and give my best. It is obviously great to be part of the India A team. I am glad that the effort and work ethics that I put through in the past have been paying off now. I just want to continue that process and hopefully the result will follow. But I don't think too much ahead and just want to continue the things that fetched me and the team some good results.