Guwahati (Assam) [India], October 1 (ANI): India head coach Rahul Dravid on Saturday backed the out-of-form fast bowler Harshal Patel and said that the pacer is mentally strong as he had bowled a fantastic last over against South Africa in the first T20I.
India will lock horns with South Africa in the second game of the three-match T20I series at Barsapara Cricket Stadium, Guwahati on Sunday.
Harshal struggled in the series after his return to the side after an injury, however, the head coach believes despite being a costly player in the Australia series the pacer has bowled some good spells.
"Harshal is a really mentally strong cricketer and he is a fantastic cricketer as well. Just look at his performance over the last two years. He has been an absolutely phenomenal player. For the franchise that he plays in and even for the Indian team he has bowled some really good spells. He is preparing really well and practising really hard," Rahul Dravid said in a pre-match press conference.
Dravid believes Harshal might take time to find his rhythm after making a comeback from injury and stated that he is happy as the pacer is making a progress.
"He made a comeback to the team after injury and it takes a little time to get used to it. He bowled a fantastic last over against Australia at Hyderabad. Even against South Africa, he bowled a fantastic last over and he got Tim David's wicket even in a tight game that can make a big difference. We are really happy with the way he is progressing, he is really well. The more games he plays it will be better for him," he added.
Talking about the prime player ruling out from the major tournaments due to injuries, the India head coach said they are not the only team that is battling with the injuries.
Jasprit Bumrah has been ruled out of the ongoing T20I series against South Africa with a back injury which has cast doubt over his participation in the upcoming ICC Men's T20 World Cup in Australia. Bumrah also missed the Asia Cup due to the same injury but made his return in the T20I series against Australia.
"It happens, it's part of the game. We are not the only team who unfortunately suffers from injuries. Obviously, when it happens near the tournament it can maybe upset your plans a little. But I think injuries are part of the game. Everyone is trying to make a really good effort to minimise injuries as much as possible. We really work hard with our sports science team here and even in the NCA," the India head coach said.
Talking about the ground on which India will take on South Africa on Sunday, Dravid said, "It was really hot here and we are really lucky that the game is in the evening. I have not played at this ground before. It looks like a very good wicket. I heard that the tickets for the game are already sold out so I am really excited about the game. Every time we played in India in the last two months every stadium leaves an impact and it's a great thing. I think the boys really appreciate the fans cheering and supporting them, hopefully supporting good cricket." (ANI)