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Kings XI Punjab batsman admits there was nothing wrong with Mohali wicket
By Akshay Manwani
Mohali 19 April 2012
Having beaten the Kolkata Knight Riders on a difficult Eden Gardens wicket three days ago, Kings XI Punjab were supposed to pull off back-to-back wins playing in front of their home crowd. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way for the Punjab franchise as they lost by eight wickets to KKR in what will surely be considered a lopsided result.
Paul Valthaty, who once again disappointed with the bat today, spoke of his team’s abject surrender to the Knight Riders in an exclusive interview with iplt20.com What was the problem with the wicket?
We were short by at least 30-40 runs. It was a pretty good wicket to bat on, but unfortunately, our top three batsmen didn’t get stuck in. Gilly [Adam Gilchrist] was unfortunate that the injury came at the wrong time for him. So, we never really got going according to the wicket.
Was Gilchrist’s injury the turning point in your innings?
In T20, it hardly needs two or three batsmen to get a good score. Today, I thought Gilly and Shaun Marsh, would do that. But when the tempo was building for Gilchrist, he had that freak injury and after that the innings never really got going.
What did you think of Gautam Gambhir’s match-winning 66 not out?
It just shows what a class player he is; a true professional. Although it was a small target, he got stuck in and didn’t try anything fancy. He got the target done [all] by himself.
In such a lopsided game, were there any positives for Kings XI Punjab?
I think the batting of Adam Gilchrist [was a positive]. Unfortunately, even he hasn’t got going in the tournament yet. He sort of got his act going today. So that was a plus point. And the fielding – you saw David Hussey going for that catch in the last over – we never really gave in. But, all said and done, winning matters and let’s hope we are good for the run.
Are you putting yourself under extra pressure to match last year’s form, which explains your own slow start in the tournament?
I don’t think [I’m putting] extra pressure [on myself]. The nature of T20 is such. I had a first-ball dismissal, in one game I sacrificed my wicket for Adam Gilchrist and today I was getting in and then I got a good delivery from Brett Lee. I’m definitely short of runs, but it’s up to me to pull up my socks and do well for the team.
Daniel Christian’s livewire fielding, ability to wield the willow and bowl a few useful overs make him a valuable member of any team, especially in limited overs cricket. On the back of his performances for his state team the South Australia Redbacks, he earned himself a place in the Deccan Chargers squad in the IPL.
The all-rounder is pegged as a Twenty20 specialist based on his ability to hit the ball hard and chip in with a few overs besides saving a few runs in the field. These qualities of this middle-order bat were on full display against the Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur yesterday. When asked about it, Christian says, “Probably I have been pegged little bit as a Twenty20 player; something I don’t mind I suppose [but] I do like five-day cricket and one-day cricket as well. [...] If I had the opportunity I would much rather play Test cricket. But we will have to wait and see if I get the opportunity.”
Speaking about the key to success in the shortest format of the game, the 28-year-old explains, “Just try and keep things as basic as possible. At the end of the day, you still have to bowl the ball and hit the ball. If I ever complicate things, it generally gets me into trouble, so I focus and try to keep things simple. I just think about bowling the ball where I want to bowl that ball or think about watching the ball and hitting it. The same philosophy applies to a team’s success in Twenty20. The teams that do the basics right over a long period of time generally win the game. And I suppose that’s true for any format of the game and cricket in general.”
Speaking about DC’s loss against RR, he said, “In the match last night [against RR] we batted brilliantly but our bowling and fielding wasn’t up to the mark, and that’s why we lost the game. Rajasthan [Royals] obviously did it better than us. They just did their basics better, they fielded better and they batted well till the end; so it’s about the basics.”
Speaking about the IPL experience, the Australian struggles to find the words to describe the overwhelming nature of it. “It is brilliant! Playing with the best players in the world and in front of huge crowds is a wonderful experience and I am enjoying it. It is just full-on I think; the music is so loud and the crowd so loud. The matches are all so competitive and fast. It is just a great experience.”
It’s not just the IPL that he enjoys but also being in India, “I love the culture and hospitality” he adds.
Growing up Christian admired the Waugh brothers – Steve and Mark – and Glenn McGrath, and now he looks up to Jacques Kallis. “He [Kallis] is going to go down in history as one of the best, if not the best ever. The amount of runs he has scored and wickets he has taken [is amazing],” he remarked.
Only the second indigenous man to play Test cricket for Australia after Jason Gillespie, Christian, the son of a rugby player played that sport before choosing cricket. What made him opt for cricket? The man who likes to keep it simple answers, “I was better at cricket, simple as that. I was okay in rugby and I really enjoyed it, but it was always going to be cricket for me. I was probably better at cricket and probably enjoyed it as well.” However, he doesn’t indulge in it anymore because, “there are too many chances of getting injured,” he explains.
An Aboriginal from the Wiradjuri tribe in New South Wales, Christian is also looked upon as a role model. He says, “There are a lot of sportsmen that are coming out of Aboriginal communities around Australia [...] there is not much that we can do other than lead a good life and be role models for young kids growing up.”