Learnt to adapt to situations: Yusuf

Attacking all-rounder says he’s worked on the waiting game

Mumbai 29 February 2012
Big-hitting all-rounder Yusuf Pathan, who had impressed with a power-packed performance in the first edition of the IPL for Rajasthan Royals, will be a player to watch out for as Kolkata Knight Riders make a bid for the IPL 2012 trophy. Practicing at the Wankhede stadium before the Inter State One-Day League game against Mumbai, the Baroda cricketer issued a warning to his opponents by frequently sending the fielders off on a leather hunt.

Excerpts from his chat with

IPL 2011 was KKR’s best season. What is the way forward for the side?

We played very good cricket last year in the IPL. The team was very confident. Our match against Mumbai [Indians] here hurt us the most because it brought us down on the points table. If we had won that game, we would have finished at No. 1 or 2 on the points table and got one more opportunity to reach the semifinals. But that’s in the past now. We played good cricket and will draw confidence from that. We’ll try and see that we don’t repeat the mistakes. We have the same team.

Brendon McCullum is back with KKR. What impact will he have at the top of the order?

Brendon McCullum has come into the team which means that we have one more batsman to open the innings and play the new ball. We will draw confidence from last year and play well.
You played an important role in the Rajasthan Royals side that won the inaugural IPL.

What will your role be as a more experienced player for KKR?

All players have their own role. My role is to play my natural, aggressive game. The team has faith in me, especially the captain. I have spoken to the new coach and he too has faith in me. I will play the same role for KKR that I did for Rajasthan [Royals].

How do you balance your natural attacking instincts with the need to adapt to the situation of the match?

I have been able to adapt to different situations well for a long time now. When the team needs me to score in ones and twos, when wickets have fallen quickly, I have played [accordingly] in those situations. I have played my aggressive game, protected my wicket and won the game for my team too. My team expects me to play my natural game. There are very few occasions where I have to adapt to a situation [and curb the aggressive instinct] but I have done that too [as per the need]. I also practice in the nets for situations like that.

Whenever you come out to bat, people expect you to win the match. How do you handle the pressure?

Yes, fans do expect that from me. I feel good [about it]. But when I am on the ground I only think, ‘I will play the ball that is in my area; I will play my natural game and score as quickly as I can for the team.’

Do you feel the IPL will help you make your way back to the national side?

IPL is a very big tournament with a lot of international players playing and some of the best Indian players too. I’m waiting for it to begin. There are a few domestic games before that and I have to perform there as well. If I do well in IPL too, I will make a comeback soon.
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