Russell’s absence doesn’t put us on the back foot: Yusuf

IPL 2017

Russell’s absence doesn’t put us on the back foot: Yusuf

Kathakali Banerjee • Last updated on Mon, 03 Apr, 2017, 07:30 AM

Competition for spots is healthy, feels Yusuf Pathan. © Getty

Countdown to the new season has begun and Kolkata Knight Riders are looking to make it count in the 10th edition of the Indian Premier League which gets under way on Wednesday (April 5). The Knight Riders, who launch their campaign against Gujarat Lions in Rajkot on April 7, are still looking to get their team combination right.

Senior pro Yusuf Pathan feels that bowling will be KKR’s strength this season. “This year we have a lot of variety,” said the swashbuckling all-rounder, ahead of their practice session at the Eden Gardens on Sunday. The KKR management picked up England’s Chris Woakes, New Zealand’s Trent Boult, Australian Nathan Coulter-Nile and Caribbean speedster Rovman Powell at the auction in order to bolster their pace attack that also includes Team India pacer Umesh Yadav.

Gautam Gambhir’s side is also well stacked in the spin department with the likes of off-spinner Sunil Narine, left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan, leg-spinner Piyush Chawla and left-arm chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav in the ranks.

Talking about young Kuldeep, who made a fine Test debut against Australia in Dharamshala last month, Pathan said: “He has a bright future and should do very well for us.”

Apart from genuine all-rounders like Shakib, Yusuf and Woakes, KKR also have a number of bowlers like Chawla, Kuldeep, and Rishi Dhawan who are handy customers with the bat. Yusuf reckons this will add a lot of depth to KKR’s batting. “When you have such a wide variety of players competing for spots in the playing XI, it is a healthy sign,” Pathan added. KKR will, however, miss the all-round talent of Andre Russell, who copped a ban for violating Wada’s anti-doping code. “He had a lot of positive impact on the team in the last couple of seasons and his lively presence in the dressing room will be missed,” Pathan said.

“I don’t agree that Russell’s absence puts us on the back foot. In a long tournament like IPL, teams are bound to miss key players at times for a variety of reasons. We have to look ahead and work with the ones who are available,” he added.

Woakes, picked as Russell’s replacement, arrived in the city on Saturday night and joined the team practice on Sunday. But Powell, Shakib, Boult and Narine are expected to join the squad in Rajkot, hours before KKR’s first match.

Asked whether it will hurt the team’s performance Pathan said, “We are playing our first couple of matches away from home. It takes the pressure off us. We are well aware of the conditions in Rajkot and Mumbai. As professional cricketers we are expected to adapt quickly,” he added.





Pressure of IPL will make Kuldeep Yadav a better cricketer: Gautam Gambhir

Kuldeep yadav picked four wickets against Australia on his debut. (Source: PTI) Kuldeep yadav picked four wickets against Australia on his debut. (Source: PTI)

Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav’s fantastic Test debut has given rise to a school of thought that the youngster should be protected from the IPL where he plays for Kolkata Knight Riders but his team skipper Gautam Gambhir feels pressure of T20 will only make him better.

Gambhir, who will be leading Kuldeep once again in a week’s time feels that the UP lad will be taking confidence going into IPL.

“I am very happy for him (Kuldeep) and would love to see him playing all three formats of the game. I am sure his progress in Dharamsala Test match will give the momentum, which he will get into IPL this season,” Gambhir told PTI talking about India’s newest spin sensation.

Asked if Kuldeep needs to be kept away from IPL where a few bad matches can be confidence dampener, Gambhir said, “I don’t think so as pressure makes you a better human being and cricketer as well. What is the point in having the talent and not testing it in different circumstances or across different formats.”

For the veteran of 58 Tests, Kuldeep should be emulating the likes of Anil Kumble, Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar, who played longest format with distinction but held their own in shortest format.

“Anil bhai (Kumble) was a rare breed, so was Sehwag, Yuvraj, Tendulkar, Virat — these cricketers don’t need any protection. They needed a challenge.”

However Gambhir gave ample indications that Kuldeep is very much in his scheme of things alongside overseas spinners Shakib Al Hasan and Sunil Narine during this season where he would probably give Kuldeep more matches.

“I hope he can finish the tournament with a Purple Cap (highest wickettaker in IPL). Need I say more,” Gambhir’s statement said it all.

Kuldeep till date has played 27 T20 matches in his career which includes both IPL matches for KKR as well as Syed Mushtaq Ali national T20 matches for Uttar Pradesh. He has 37 wickets from those games and an economy rate of 7.10 per over which is expected to get better as he plays more matches.

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Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav rattles Australia in Dharamsala Test

Kuldeep Yadav troubled the Australian batsmen with his left-arm chinaman style of bowling, in the Dharamsala Test. (Photo: BCCI)

Dharamsala: The ‘chinaman’ is a rare sight in cricket these days. Made famous by the likes of Sir Garfield Sobers, Michael Bevan, and Brad Hogg, the chinaman is a delivery bowled by a left-arm wrist-spinner.

The orthodox chinaman delivery generally comes into a right-handed batsmen.

India’s Kuldeep Yadav, who was handed his first cap in Test cricket in the fourth and final Test between India and Australia, joined the elite list of illustrious chinamen.

While the Aussies came out all guns blazing in the first session, India have taken back control of the game in the second one, with Kuldeep reining the Aussies back with three wickets.

During the 22-year-old’s spell, the commentators Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri, and Matthew Hayden went on to explain.

There are different versions to the story, as to how the term ‘chinaman’ cropped-up in cricket.

While South Africa’s Charlie Llewellyn claimed to be the first left-arm wrist spinner in the history of cricket back in the 19th century, the term ‘chinaman’ cropped up a few decades later.

Ellis ‘Puss’ Achong, who was a West Indian cricketer of Chinese origin, is said to have been involved in the origin of the term.

English batsman Walter Robins got out stumped by an Achong delivery that spun inside from outside the off stump. While returning back to the pavilion, Robins had reportedly remarked: “Fancy being done by a bloody Chinaman.”

This had reportedly given rise to the term.

Kuldeed Yadav became the first ‘chinaman’ to play a Test match for the India men’s national team. The day however, was even more special for the 22-year-old, as he picked up three wickets (as of the end of play of the second session of the Dharamsala Test).

Yadav got the wickets of the dangerous-looking David Warner, who became his first Test scalp. It was quite clearly an emotional moment for the youngster, who broke into tears while celebrating the wicket with his teammates.

Kuldeep also went on to pluck off Peter Handscomb and Glenn Maxwell, on his debut, capping off a brilliant first day in office.


Ajinkya Rahane talks about ‘x-factor’ Kuldeep Yadav after series win in Dharamsala

Kuldeep Yadav had an excellent Test debut for India, picking up four Aussie wickets, in the first innings of the Dharamsala Test. (Photo: PTI)

Dharamsala: India ’s stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane heaped praises on Kuldeep Yadav, saying that the debutant spinner was the “x-factor” for India in the Dharamsala Test against Australia .

India dominated the final Test to clinch the Border Gavaskar Trophy 2-1, after notching-up an eight-wicket victory over Australia in Dharamsala, on Tuesday.

Kuldeep Yadav, who played his first Test match in this game, shone with the ball in the first innings, picking up four Aussie wickets in the post-lunch session of the first day of the Test. His stellar performance earned him a lot of praise from Rahane, who was filling-in as the captain in this match, in place of the injured Virat Kohli.

“The way Kuldeep bowled in that session, hats off to him. We knew Kuldeep was bowling really well in the nets,” said Rahane during the post-match presentation ceremony. “He had an x-factor. We all had the confidence in him.”

Rahane revealed that the team’s decision to stem Australia ’s run-flow in the second session of the first day’s play, helped them gain a strong foothold after a bad start in the Dharamsala Test.

“We decided at lunch on day one that if we stop their runs and if we take one wicket, we could be back because only Smith and Warner were scoring runs,” he said.

Rahane also praised the effort put in by the India pace bowlers, Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, in the Dharamsala Test. He also went on to say that the presence of as many as four top quality pace bowlers is a good sign for Indian cricket.

“Fantastic to see Umesh and Bhuvnesh and Ishant and Shami, the kind of performances they put in on Indian pitches,” he said.