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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

I want to be the person people can lean on in tough times: RCB pacer Harshal Patel


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Bengaluru: Harshal Patel has seen the two vastly contrasting sides of life-crushing sadness and unmitigated happiness.

Harshal’s elder sister passed away early last year leaving the Royal Challengers Bangalore pacer numb. But a moment of joy was around the curve as he welcomed a baby boy into his family.

While speaking on RCB Podcast Season 2, 5th of the 10 episodes, Harshal revealed how he dealt with extremities in life and career.

“When my sister passed away, I was in grief for a week. She passed away on April 9 (2022). I was in quarantine. I was talking to my niece and nephew and everyone back home. I wanted to go, hug them and cry with them. But we were doing it on the phone, because that was the only option available. Then seven days later, my son was born. So, I kind of went numb for a week, 10 days. I didn’t really know what I was feeling — whether I should be happy, whether I should be sad. It would all come in waves” he said.

“There were times when I probably cried three-four times in my room every day. And then I would see my son on FaceTime and, and be extremely joyful. When you have those polar emotions, pulling at you constantly, it can be quite draining,” said Harshal.

So, how did he manage to overcome that volatile period in his life and get back to cricket?

“When something good happens or something bad happens I want to be stable. So those two weeks were a great opportunity for me to see how well I can deal with that. So, I tried to console my family in the best possible way and they tried to console me in the best possible way and we got through it. I mean, it comes with loads of introspection. If you’re not honest with yourself, then it’s a fool’s errand. If you’re constantly trying to find reasons outside of yourself of why you’re not happy or why you’re not successful, then you’re not moving in the right direction. I just don’t want to be affected by things that are happening outside of my control and consciousness, and just be a good calming presence. When things are going wrong, I want to be the person people can lean on,” said Harshal.

Harshal was the Purple Cap holder in IPL 2021, plucking 32 wickets for RCB. Despite releasing him, RCB went all out in the auction room to buy back the pacer.

RCB splurged INR 10.75 crore to reacquire him from the auction and Harshal said he was pleasantly shocked to see such a high bid for him.

“A lot of people asked me what my expectations were. I said I was expecting probably 6 or 7 crores because I had looked at people in my category for the past three or four seasons, and none of them made more money than that in the big auction. So I thought I can safely expect to make 5-6-7 crores. But a lot of people around me told me that it could go into double figures. I just didn’t believe them because I’m a cautious optimist. So, when that happened, it was a pleasant shock. I still remember SRH and RCB were going neck to neck and it went over INR 10 crore. I really wanted to come back and play for RCB. So I thought to myself, Okay, it’s enough. I don’t want one more bid, I’m okay with the money I’ve got, I want to go back to RCB,” said Harshal.

But Harshal emphasised that the amount has given him a certain degree of freedom in life to make choices. In fact, Harshal had joined the Delhi Capitals for Rs 20 lakh in 2018 before getting traded to RCB ahead of IPL 2021.

“It gives me choices, freedom. So if I continue to play at this price or even if I don’t continue to play at this price, I don’t really think I need to base any of my life decisions on how much money am I getting? I’m not an extravagant person. I don’t really need a lot of money. But money is a tool to freedom. That’s how I look at it,” said Harshal.

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