GT Vs SRH, IPL 2024: Everyone Has Slower Delivery, But Knowing How To Use It Against Whom Is Key, Says Mohit Sharma

At 35 years and 195 days, the veteran Indian seamer showed that it's never too late as he acknowledged the same while receiving the Player of the Match award

AP Photo /Ajit Solanki
Gujarat Titans' Mohit Sharma, left, and captain Shubman Gill celebrate the wicket of Sunrisers Hyderabad's Washington Sundar during the Indian Premier League 2024 match between Gujarat Titans and Sunrisers Hyderabad in Ahmedabad. AP Photo /Ajit Solanki

Mohit Sharma stood still, his hands folded in deep gratitude, eyes closed, as he turned back the clock with a stunning display of death bowling. (As It Happened | Scorecard | Streaming)

His performance (3/25) was pivotal in Gujarat Titans restricting Sunrisers Hyderabad to 162/8 here on Sunday, days after they posted the IPL record total of 277/3. GT coasted to a convincing seven-wicket victory.

At 35 years and 195 days, the veteran Indian seamer showed that it's never too late as he acknowledged the same while receiving the player-of-the-match.

"Thank you sir for reminding me I'm aging," Mohit, the 2014 Purple Cap winner and 2015 World Cup semifinalist, said in a lighter vein during the post-match awards ceremony when Ravi Shastri welcomed him saying he's "getting better with age".

Mohit conceded just one boundary -- a six by Abdul Samad in the 18th over -- during his spell and gave away only two runs in the last over, where he also claimed successive wickets of Shahbaz Ahmed and Washington Sundar.

He smartly varied his pace, and altered his line and length to keep the batters guessing all the time as Pat Cummins later acknowledged they fell short by "10-15 runs".

"I practice what I do generally. What's important is knowing when to use them and being ahead of the batter," said Mohit, who has played 26 ODIs and 8 T20Is, with the last of them coming in the 50-over format in October 2015.

"Everyone has them on slow wickets but knowing how to use it against whom is key."

On the importance of tweaking the field when bowling slow, he said: "If you and the batter know what you'll deliver, then you need to play with one fielder's position to deceive the batter."

"If he's ready for a slower bouncer but I go slow and wide, he won't be ready."

On bowling slow balls in night games, he said: "We practice with a wet ball to contend with dew. But it's an uncontrollable, mindset that matters more there."

"As long as I do well I enjoy. When you don't it hurts a bit but you have to go back and review things after the game.

"But it's better if the mistakes are due to failing in execution rather than not following the plan. Spinners were excellent after SRH started well. It helped us chase a smaller target," he thanked the combined effort of Rashid Khan (1/33) and Noor Ahmad (1/32).

From the highs of 2014-15, Mohit fell into obscurity and also suffered an injury before going unsold in the IPL auction in 2022.

Before making his grand comeback for GT in 2023, he played just one game each in 2019 and 2022 and was used as a net bowler.

"He's such an experienced player, especially on wickets like these. He comes in day in and day out, practises his skills and he's so skilled," GT skipper Shubman Gill was all-praise for Mohit.

"It's not easy in this heat to bowl four overs back-to-back, sometimes three overs back-to-back. But he comes in, bowls those yorkers, slower ones and mixes it so well.

"The credit has to go to him for practising those skills and to be able to have the confidence to execute them in the match," he said.