IPL 2022 – MI vs. SRH

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There are certain things that make Tim David a big, powerful hitter. One is his the size. Another is its solid foundation at the crease. And two abilities he’s been working on over the past few years are his “monstrous” hand speed and hand-eye coordination.

So it was no surprise that he was snapped up by the Mumbai Indians for INR 8.25 crore (around USD 1.1 million) at the mega auction in February just for his six shots. The surprise came during the IPL. After giving him just two chances, in which he scored 12 and 1 at the start of the season, Mumbai dropped David from the XI. Mumbai and their captain Rohit Sharma are notorious for giving their players a long rope before dropping them, which made this move even more disconcerting.

David, however, waited for his next chance as Mumbai lost game after game. He might have been prepared for such a scenario due to the tough competition foreign players face for a spot in the XI, and David has used the time to further hone his power.

“I was sitting out after the first two games and during that time it was an opportunity to train really hard, do as much work as possible in the net and in the gym, bowl and be ready when an opportunity arises” David said a day before the game against Sunrisers Hyderabad. “It’s an opportunity to get used to the conditions and see how other teams are doing, which is effective in those conditions at the IPL. So it was a good period for me to work really hard and to prepare to come back to the team when the opportunity presented itself.”

The opportunity came after almost a month when Mumbai had lost all eight games. He scored a few undefeated shots, hitting four sixes in his 44-for-21 against the Gujarat Titans, but the innings that really showed his prowess came against the Sunrisers on Tuesday.

He came walking when Mumbai needed 67 of 35 in a chase of 194. In the 18 balls he faced he hit three fours which weren’t as spectacular but he landed on T Natarajan in the 18th when Mumbai needed 45 from 18.

On the first ball, David planted his solid base in front of the stumps and clubbed Natarajan’s full throw with a big arm swing over the distance. Two balls later, Natarajan missed another yorker, this time to the center, and David squared it for another six. The next ball, Natarajan tried a yorker again but ended up throwing another full throw and David sent it over the square leg again, this time raising the decibel level at Wankhede. Natarajan went for the blockhole again for the next ball and David smoked it for a long time for a monstrous six, the second biggest of IPL 2022, from 114 yards.

“I spend a lot of time in the net trying to hit a six,” David said in a virtual press conference before the game. “It’s about putting pressure on the bowler and recognizing the right situations where you can try that in a game. There may be different pitches or pitches that are suitable for power hitters for particular bowlers you have to choose those times. It’s about maintaining confidence for the season and trusting in your abilities that you can acquire through practice, lots of practice, make sure you hit the ball well and you can fit it in in the game and have a fresh mind.

How much mental preparation comes into power strikes then? “You do all your work outside of the game in the nets and in the gym to make sure you feel strong and hit the ball well and then once it’s in the game it’s all mental if you’re … I think it’s the same for all hitters, you have to go with a lucidity. If you don’t do it, if you bring things into the game, it often has an impact on your performance. So it it’s about trying to get into that state where you can try to be as mentally consistent as possible and then if you trust your process and stick to it, it will more often than not bring the best results.”

David’s teammate Ishan Kishan said at the post-match press conference that David put a lot of work behind his game.

“He makes sure he hits the ball based on where it lands,” Kishan said. “He also talks to the coaches about it. The best part is that he’s not someone who mainly hits from the side of the leg or only targets a certain type of ball. He’s good on the back foot, he has very good power. So even if bowlers miss their yorkers, he’s very good at converting them into sixes.”

Although he got the equation down to 19 of 13, David ran away when he tried to steal a single by returning the last ball from the top to Natarajan, who did well to pull the bails at the end of the non-attacking to catch David off guard. With David gone, Mumbai also failed but after seeing who they invested the 8.25 crore in.

Vishal Dikshit is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo

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