Ajit Chandila first hogged the limelight with a hat-trick last year, but the tall offspinner is fast proving that he is not a one-season wonder.
Chandila played a crucial role in Rajasthan Royals’ win over Mumbai Indians on Wednesday as he dismissed Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting while opening the bowling.
The Haryana boy, who is mentored by Narendra Hirwani, said the former international’s advice has helped him bowl with confidence with the new ball. Opening the bowling is a role that he relishing.
"You have to be fearless. That is what Narendra Hirwani has taught me," Chandila told Mail Today
"I am not bothered if I am smacked. The spinners will come under attack in Twenty20. You have vary your pace and that is the key for a spinner. Let the batsmen put all the effort to hit a spinner.
"I have tried follow his advice and it has paid dividends. Also, in Twenty20 what counts are the dot balls because it puts pressure on the batsmen.”
He is over the moon after dismissing the two legends the game. "I could not have asked for more. Dismissing the two legends of the game is like a dream coming true. It is more satisfying than the hat-trick,” he said.
The world around him has changed since he took the hat-trick last year against Pune Warriors.
The Faridabad boy said captain Rahul Dravid has immense faith on him and that is why he is asked to open the attack.
"I cannot let him down. Bowling with the new ball is part of my role. I have been told that I should be prepared to ball two overs with the new ball and two overs at the death. I have been training that way,” said Chandila.
Having a tall frame of 6'2' inches has its advantages even as a spinner.
"It helps a lot to bowl from that height. I can change my grip at the very end. When I bowled to Rahul Dravid at the nets, he told me he has found it difficult to read me.
It is a big compliment. Just one word of appreciation from such a big player can make you believe a lot in your abilities,” he said.
"There is so much to learn in the Rajasthan dressing room. Shane Watson and Dravid bhai always have encouraging words.”
With a good experience in domestic circuit for Haryana, Chandila is waiting to cash in on this opportunity in IPL.
"I have had a decent one-day and T20 outing with Haryana. I have played for Air India for 10 years and that experience has helped. It is a different ball game against international players."
"I always wanted to do something big and the hattrick just came my way. Life changed after that. People started recognising me and saw me in a different light.” In international cricket, his favourite spinner has been Pakistan’s Saqlain Mushtaq.
"I have followed Mushtaq for a long time. He was such a great off-spinner.” Asked whether he has a doosra like Mushtaq and quick comes the reply with a smile, "Yes, it is natural to me.”