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Veteran pacer believes Pune Warriors India can give any team a run for their money
By Hoshedar N. Gundevia
Pune 27 April 2012
At 35, most fast bowlers would be contemplating retirement or at the very least cutting down on their workload. Pune Warriors India’sAlfonso Thomas is no ordinary bowler. With over 150 Twenty20 wickets, the veteran South African has become somewhat of an expert in the shortest format of the game. With the fire still burning bright within Thomas, PWI have a champion cricketer who knows how to handle difficult situations, and who always gets the job done for his skipper.
With three wickets from three matches, Thomas is slowly finding his feet in the IPL. Although his exploits against DC couldn’t quite manage to pull off a win for the home side, he warns the rest of the pack to be wary of the wounded Warriors. Thomas took out time to have a brief chat with iplt20.com after PWI’s disappointing home loss against DC.
Is the loss against DC a bitter blow?
[It was a] very tough day. I thought they probably got about 15 runs too many. I and Ashish [Nehra] thought 160 was probably par. But that score was definitely chaseable with the bowling attack they have; they have a lot of inexperienced bowlers. We always knew we had to get to a good start, which we didn’t. Couple of our top-order batsmen had a start but nobody kicked on, and that went against us. If anyone from the top four gets a 70-plus, that gives us a high chance of winning the game.
What are the essentials to be a good Twenty20 fast bowler?
You got to be mentally strong and you got to back your plan. When you are standing at the top of your mark, you got to have a clear mind on what you want to do and back your execution. You got to do your work at the practice ground, and the rest will take care of itself.
They say Twenty20 is a young man’s game and you are 35. What are you doing right to stay on top of your game?
I think it comes with a bit of experience as well. I have played all around the world and have picked a lot of experience. Sourav Ganguly is 39 and he is still going. He sees the fire in the belly, and till the time it’s there for me, I will keep on playing.
What do you think Nehra and Ashok Dinda need to do to take that step up in quality?
They don’t have to do much. As a bowler, you got to try and apply pressure and that’s how you get wickets. I don’t think as a collective unit we need to lose some sleep. We all are quality bowlers and we have our plans; we just need to keep it simple. Things start going wrong the moment you complicate T20 cricket.
How do you adapt to the ever-changing batting trends?
You probably don’t have to adapt to it. I would like to see what the batter is going to do if I start running with my right hand and bowl from my left hand. Like I said, the basics still apply. A good yorker will remain a good yorker whether you are batting left-handed or right-handed. You just got to back your skills and keep it simple. People don’t come out to watch us to take five-fors, they come to watch us to go for 15 runs in an over.
PWI has lost two back-to-back home games. Where do you go from here? Is it a setback or is it already forgotten?
It’s already forgotten. It’s a hiccup and we have seven games left, we just need to back ourselves and perform like how we have done in the past. If we get going, I can assure you that lot of the top-ranked teams will lose their sleep over us.
DC pacer says his team has found the winning edge after their first victory of IPL 2012
By Hoshedar N. Gundevia
Pune 27 April 2012
Momentum is key in the IPL, but the Deccan Chargers were carrying negative momentum in their first five matches this season. Winless till Thursday, the Chargers finally registered their first victory of IPL 2012 against the Pune Warriors India. The Chargers’ South African import, Juan Theron had been warming the bench throughout the start of the season. But his opportunity came against PWI and ‘Rusty’, as he is fondly called, didn’t think twice to pounce on it. His performance might have lacked a certain finishing touch, but Theron is eager to polish his craft in the upcoming matches.
Excerpts from a brief chat with the 26-year-old pacer after DC’s 18-run win over PWI.
How was it replacing Dale Steyn in the side?
I spoke to him before the game. I had some big shoes to fill, but he asked me to go there and enjoy my game. I have been feeling good in nets but it’s different to play in the middle. I could feel a little bit of match jitters. But overall I am pretty happy.
What was it like for you to sit on the sidelines and watch your team lose five matches in a row?
It’s always hard to watch your team lose. Particularly, the very close games, which you think you should be winning but it just goes the other way round at the end. You rather would want to be outplayed and lose than coming right towards the end and lose it like that.
DC has lost their nerve in many matches this season. What’s the reason – inexperience or bad luck?
I think it’s just like any other sport. You just need to get used to winning again and believe you can win games, otherwise even the game you are winning you get a feeling that we might lose this game. Once you just get over the line a few times, you start believing that we can win. And hopefully, this is the start of it. Do you believe this is the start for many more wins?
Yeah, I hope so. We are a good team who gets along very well and works hard. All this while we have been getting 90 percent of it and looking for that 10 percent extra to get us over the line. To be fair we could have won the three out of our first four games, but we were missing that 10 percent of it. Hopefully, we have found that edge and that will push us over the line.
Five losses in a row and then this win. Did the team get any hairdryer treatment from Darren Lehmann after those losses?
Darren is a cool guy. He will point out the errors but he won’t lose his cool too often. He points out the good parts as well. He is a very good coach and very neutral. He will comment unbiasedly and say it like it is.
Did you guys set any targets after losing five games?
The key is always the enjoyment factor. You can’t be wining if you don’t enjoy and just think about the losses. Every time we go out, we look to enjoy the game. We are here to entertain and we love doing that. You were a mixed bag today – wickets, wides and sixes.
I have been feeling good in the nets and I just needed to play in the middle to get [back] my confidence. You’ll get four yorkers right and miss one, which will go for six, whereas if you spend some time in the middle you will get the fifth one also right. I am pretty happy. It was a bit of mixed bag but I am playing in the middle after a long time and it’s good to be back again.