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.

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Source: http://www.cricbuzz.com/cricket-news/93742/russells-absence-doesnt-put-us-on-the-back-foot-yusuf

IPL 2017: Variety in our bowling is a good headache to have, says Yusuf Pathan

Yusuf Pathan side will miss out on Andre Russell because of an anti-dope code violation. Yusuf Pathan side will miss out on Andre Russell because of an anti-dope code violation.

Senior Kolkata Knight Riders batsman Yusuf Pathan feels that the variety in their formidable bowling attack will make it very tough for the team management to choose their preferred men in the playing XI.

“It will be a tough selection. We have a lot of variety in our bowling. There’s depth in batting, we have a lot of all-rounders. We will see how we combine as a team,” the 34-year-old Pathan told reporters on the sidelines of their training session at the Eden Gardens.

The 2012 and 2014 champions have reinforced their pace attack with the trio, who are also handy with the bat down the order, while the sizzling form of Umesh Yadav is an added bonus to the side.

Yusuf was all praise for chinaman Kuldeep Yadav, who recently had an impressive Test debut against Australia.

“Kuldeep has a bright future. He made a great debut. Also Umesh has done well whole season. He’s doing well with the new ball… We have quality in (pace) bowling which we were lacking earlier,” the big-hitting batsman.

They purple-and-gold brigade will miss out on Windies bighitting all-rounder Andre Russell because of an anti-dope code violation.

“This (Russell’s absence) does not put us on backfoot. He has done well for the team. He brings an air of positivity to the changing room. We will definitely miss him. But there are other players, who will have to live up to the challenge. We are focussed on that.”

KKR begin their campaign with two away matches beginning with Gujarat Lions in Rajkot, and Pathan sees a positive side to it.

“I don’t think it’s a disadvantage. It’s good that we’re playing away. There won’t be much pressure of playing at home. Besides, we know the conditions well with 10 years into IPL. I don’t think it will make much of a difference.”

April marked the sixth anniversary of India’s World Cup triumph at the Wankhede, which came after a long gap of 28 years since 1983.

“It was a proud moment not only for me but for the whole country. We won it after a long gap of 28 years. It will always remain fresh in everyone’s memory,” he said.

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Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket/ipl-2017-10/ipl-2017-variety-in-our-bowling-is-a-good-headache-to-have-says-yusuf-pathan-4596976/