Kolkata, April 14
Bits and pieces from other franchise cricket leagues around the globe has helped Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) ideate in terms of team combination, assistant coach Simon Katich said on the eve of their Indian Premier League (IPL) game against Sunrisers Hyderabad here. “We pay a fair bit of attention to all competitions and not only the BBL (Big Bash League, Australia),” Katich told reporters after being asked whether Narine’s surprise opening decision was borrowed from Melbourne Renegades where the West Indian has opened thrice this year. “In the Caribbean Premier League, the wickets are very similar to that of India. There also the spinners play a big role. The wickets turn. The Pakistan Super League is also played in similar sort of conditions. There are a number of competitions we are looking at in terms of players that are performing and playing big tournaments,” the former Australia opener said. After that whirlwind 18-ball 37 which took the game away from Kings XI Punjab, Narine has been nicknamed the “all-rounder”, Katich said. “Narine repaid the faith and he thoroughly enjoyed it. I have never seen him as vocal in training when he found out he batting at the top of the order so…his nickname is “the all-rounder” now and hopefully that continues.” “We know that he can bat. I think what we saw was someone playing a role and that’s why we brought him. To play in Powerplay. After Chris Lynn being injured, we felt we needed to try and win the Powerplay and he batted wonderfully with Gautam. To be 76 after six overs is a fantastic start and it killed the game,” Katich said.
Katich said that against defending champions Sunrisers, it won’t be a surprise anymore and that they are a well-oiled machine, adding Narine’s big-hitting capabilities prompted the management to rethink his position in the batting order.
“It (Chris Lynn’s injury) presented an opportunity for Narine and it was a surprise. But tomorrow it won’t be because Sunrisers are a very well drilled team. They are well coached and led by David Warner. They have got a very good bowling line up.”
“We try to win that phase of the game (Powerplay) and we did that yesterday.”
“Narine has taken Lynn’s spot at the top of the order but he was always in the team. With his ball striking capability, we felt he should bat higher up the order as he was being unutilised down at No 8. It allows us to play another overseas player in the middle order.”
India’s Umesh Yadav (4/33) was the pick of the bowlers on Thursday for KKR returning from a brief injury layoff. The in-form pacer scalped three wickets in four deliveries in his third over and also got the back of Punjab captain Glenn Maxwell.
“Most players who play at the international level for a certain period of time, they get a lot of confidence like Umesh got while playing for India,” Katich said of Umesh who played 13 of the 14 Tests at home taking 17 wickets in eight innings in the four-match India-Australia series.
“He was always bowling at good pace but even in that process, that wicket (of Maxwell) he got yesterday, it was well executed as we spoke before the game how to get Maxwell out when he started to open up. The way he got him out caught behind, following him was exactly as was discussed pre-game so that sort of stuff doesn’t go unnoticed from the coaching group.”
“That level of experience he has gained playing consistently for India in all formats is helping him.”
Kolkata, April 14