Morne Morkel, the Delhi Daredevils fast bowler, has said he has been helping the younger bowlers in his side to deal with pressure of performing in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Morkel, who is currently the leading wicket-taker this season with 25 wickets, said a strong showing by Daredevils' bowlers has helped the team make the playoffs.
"It's always good to be standing next to the bowler, clear his mind, tell him to focus on the next ball and calm his nerves," Morkel told Indian Express. "You can be put under great pressure in 24 balls. How you handle those moments is crucial. My job is to keep talking to the bowlers when times are bad, tell them it is okay. I remember when I was under pressure, it was always nice to have a guy next to me and tell me feel-good things."
Morkel, who has shared the new ball with Varun Aaron and Umesh Yadav this season, said India's fast bowlers have the potential to be lethal, if they are guided properly. "In India, they play non-stop cricket, and these guys bowl a great amount. To play and bowl fast consistently, you need to have a window of two months where these bowlers are told, they are not going to bowl at all and only do strengthening and gym work.
"I can't see why India can't produce or compete with the best fast bowlers. They have Umesh, Varun, (Parvinder) Awana is bowling real quick and you have (Ashok) Dinda. It's a question of managing these guys. That's how we have gone about in South Africa, whatever cricket I play, I don't remember missing a Test match for South Africa."
With nine fast bowlers in Daredevils' line-up this season, Morkel said he was under pressure to perform from the start of the tournament, in order to stay in the playing XI. "When I started off for the IPL, I realised with the quality we have, I might get only a handful of games, so I needed to grab my opportunities.
"Thankfully, the wind is blowing the right way for me, but there's no complacency. I have to be on top of the game every day to get a permanent slot. I knew if I didn't get it right, not many would point at me because it's a batsman's game, but I wanted to prove myself and am happy to have done my bit."
Morkel said that though the odds favour the batsmen in the shorter format, bowlers must focus on doing the basics. "The most important thing for a fast bowler is to remember that when you enter the field, you must expect that you can go for runs on that day and guys can play with your ego.
"You try not to look too much into it, but if you are caught up in those things, you are going the wrong way. They can reverse-sweep, or sweep you, even me. Things like that have happened. T20 is a great entertaining for crowd, and that's what I tell myself and forget about it."