Delhi Capitals all-rounder Harshal Patel is hoping to make his mark in the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after an injury had disrupted his appearance last season.

Harshal, who had managed to feature in only two games for Delhi Capitals in last year’s IPL before his right hand was fractured and he was forced to stay out of the remaining parts of the tournament.

Speaking about the disappointment, he said, “It was pretty difficult for me to leave the tournament half-way because I think I was in good touch and of course I wanted to do well. IPL is the biggest tournament for me because I don’t play international cricket, so it was really difficult, and hard to take,” he said.

“Even when I left, I wanted the team to win, so I was following every single game and I was in touch with some of the players. I was really happy where we finished, but of course I think we could’ve won as well,” he added.

After a successful Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy last year, the 29-year-old all-rounder from Haryana said that he was confident of playing an important role in Delhi Capitals’ campaign in the 13the edition of the IPL, showcasing trust on his skills.

“I have more confidence than I have ever had in my skills. I have worked harder on my batting and I am just not that pinch hitter anymore who would just hit boundaries here and there. I know how to finish games and have become more sophisticated that way. Similarly, in terms of my bowling, I am more aware of what I can and cannot do. So that puts me in a very good position ahead of this season.”

Speaking of the matches ahead, he said: “I think everybody’s executing their duties well, and looking very fresh.”

With the cash-rich tournament set to be a two.months long affair, the hot weather in UAE is likely to pose a challenge to the players.

“I think the heat is going to play a huge part, especially in the afternoon games, so we will need to sit down with our trainers and physio to make sure we are preparing well in order to tackle those challenges of playing in almost 42-43 degrees.”

Asked whether neutral venues will change anything, Harshal said: “I think every situation comes with its advantages and disadvantages. Having neutral venues will take away that home advantage for sure, so it’s going to be challenging for teams because you can’t rely on one brand of the wicket. We have seen in the past that teams like to prepare spin-friendly pitches when they have a spin-heavy squad and that enables them to win that way,” said Patel.

The 2020 season of the IPL will be played for 53 days from September 19 to November 10 across three venues in the UAE — Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and Dubai. CSK will take on Mumbai Indians in the season opener.

The final match will be played on a Tuesday, to make it the first-ever IPL to have its final on a weekday. The matches this season will also start 30 minutes before their original time of 4 PM and 8 PM.