Harshal Patel played a key role as India bounced back in the ongoing T20I series against South Africa and speaking ahead of the fourth game, the medium pacer said his focus has always been on reading match situations better.

India lost the first two matches of the series but pulled one back as Harshal bagged a four-wicket haul in Visakhapatnam. Heading into the fourth T20I in Rajkot on Friday, he said his focus remains on trying to improve his variations.

“My focus is on trying to execute the best possible delivery at that point of time,” said Harshal.

“I can’t worry about pace because I can’t bowl fast as Umran Malik. I have to develop skills to render myself effective at the international level. I have never been an express fast bowler though on a good day I can go near 140 kmph. My focus has always been to develop skills around my bowling and whatever limitations and advantages I have in my bowling.”

Harshal had made his India debut after the T20 World Cup last November and more than six months into international cricket, the 31-year-old has 17 wickets in 11 games at an average of 19.52.

He is known for his variations and world class slower deliveries but he said handling pressure remains the key to success.

“To be honest, people have been trying to anticipate what I am bowling for the last two years,” said Harshal.

“With every bowler, the longer they play, the opposition will realise what the bowlers strengths and patterns are. As a bowler my job is to stay one step ahead of them. At the end of the day you can have 15 plans but on a particular day in a pressure situation if you don’t go out and execute with confidence, everything doesn’t fall in place.”

Harshal even shared his thoughts on the kind of pitches that suit him and bring bowlers into the game in general.

“I would certainly prefer to pay on slow wickets. It gives you a fighting chance. If you can keep playing on pitches like Delhi it can hamper your confidence a little bit. We have bowlers who can bowl on all pitches but it brings them more into the game when there are slightly slower pitches and slightly bigger ground dimensions,” said Harshal.