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Playing under the guidance of Gautam Gambhir and sharing the Kolkata Knight Riders dressing room with the likes of Wasim Akram and Jacques Kallis has helped sharpen his skills says young left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdulla. This exuberant bowler had a modest domestic season with the ball, but he did score some valuable runs. His crucial performances in the knock-out stage and the final of the Deodhar Trophy have given Abdulla a boost ahead of IPL 2012.
Excerpts from Iqbal’s brief interview with iplt20.com: On KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir
Playing under Gauti bhai has been a good experience. And he has shown faith in me. And when the captain is showing faith in you, you are [even] more motivated to perform, and you also feel like doing what the captain asks off you. Even if you are going for runs in a match, if the captain is giving you the ball, [you] try to do your best and the captain is with you.
On his experiences with international players in IPL
It is very good. Last year was extremely good. We have players like Jacques Kallis, Brett Lee, Gauti Bhai and the legendary bowler Wasim Akram. And then coach Dave Whatmore was also there. So there is a different atmosphere and you learn a lot from observing them. You learn from watching them, their attitude in the nets, on the ground. And then I would discuss my bowling with them and they would teach me [different things].
On learning from Gautam Gambhir
I talk a lot with Gauti bhai because he is a senior player and he is one of the best players of spin in the world. He helps me a lot. After the nets I ask him which ball you found easy to play and which ball you found tough. So many times he has spoken to me and told me which balls I can bowl and similar things.
On Jacques Kallis
No matter what kind of wicket, Jacques Kallis’ approach is always to ensure that if he is batting, he doesn’t get out. [...] His approach in the nets is the same as it is in a match. Gauti bhai also says the same thing about Kallis’ approach – that he plays in the nets like he does in a match so try to get him out here. So, in the nets I would try to work out where the runs would come and after speaking to Jacques about the field setting I would then bowl accordingly and then count how many runs I have given away and which type of balls were dot balls, etc.
On his preparation for IPL 2012
Right now there are domestic matches happening continuously, so I am focusing from match to match – whether it was the one-dayers or now the T20s. [I am] not thinking too much about the IPL. Whatever matches I get to play, I am focusing on those. Like right now the one-dayers that got over and then the Deodhar Trophy and now the T20s. I am focusing on my next match.
On bowling in the shorter formats
All the matches that are taking place, T20 or one-dayers will be very helpful for IPL. I have bowled mostly in the bowling powerplay overs in the one-dayers that I played recently. So it is good for me before the IPL. I have been working hard during practice and then [have been] executing the same during the matches as well. So it is good.
On his domestic performances this year
I have been working very hard and I have got awards [...] [for my performances]. So, there is a bit if pressure to perform when you have been winning awards. I have been doing the hard work and focusing on [my bowling] [...]. I had a good season and I had full confidence in myself and faith in God. I looked to bowl the good balls, got six wickets in one match and four in the final, so got 10 wickets from two matches [in the Deodhar Trophy] which will give me a lot of boost going ahead.
[...] [In the recently-concluded Deodhar Trophy] I got wickets in the first powerplay and then again in the 15th over during powerplay. [I] Got wickets like Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Wriddhiman Saha, etc. [...] I am most happy about the fact that I got the wickets at the top of the order. I was using a lot of variations including the arm-ball, depending on what the batsman was looking to play, after reading the batsman.
On KKR’s chances in IPL 2012
We will know about chances once we play on the ground. Last year we had a new team and all players came together and played with a team spirit, which resulted in a good showing. It was better than the previous three years. This year too we will try to perform well and to the best of our abilities.
RR speedster looks forward to post-Warne era in the IPL
By Hoshedar N. Gundevia
Mumbai 18 March 2012
Australia’s Shaun Tait is an enigma of sorts. He retired from Tests and ODIs at the age of 28, to focus on Twenty20 cricket. Now this Rajasthan Royals bowler has emerged as a Twenty20 specialist.
The Adelaide-born pacer, who is one of the fastest bowlers in the world, will play his fourth season for the Jaipur franchise this year. Eager to get on with IPL 2012, Tait reveals his expectations this season in an exclusive interview with iplt20.com.
Excerpts IPL 2012
“Playoffs our goal”
Our goal has to be to make the playoffs and just improve on last year. Personally, I mean to play more games and hopefully the team can make the final four. “Good mix of youth and experience”
Everyone at the franchise is really focussed; Rahul Dravid is the captain and the boss of the team. He is a focussed person, as we all know, so having him to run the team is a big plus. We obviously picked up some good overseas players during the auction. [Brad] Hodge, [Brad] Hogg, Paul Collingwood is around and Owais Shah too. Apart from all these experienced guys, we’ve got a good young mix of players as well. Ankeet Chavan from Mumbai – he is a good player. As are [Ashok] Menaria and [Ajinkya] Rahane. So we have three exciting players mixed in with a lot of experienced players.
“Sreesanth and I will be steaming in”
[Sreesanth] hasn’t played cricket for a while – he is recovering well. I’ve been training with him in a few of our camps and he is looking good. He is all fire and aggression and I am the same so we’ll both be steaming in with the new ball. We should be pretty effective, hopefully.
“Just a matter of putting it all together”
I’ve been playing Twenty20s exclusively. In the Big Bash, I wasn’t so flash – I didn’t do that great. I’ve been training with the boys [at Rajasthan Royals]. I just came back from a three-day camp in Nagpur. We meet as a team in late March in Jaipur. As far as preparations go, it’s all there; it’s just a matter of putting it all together, picking the right team and putting it on the park.
“MI and CSK are the teams to beat”
The big cities, Mumbai [Indians], [Royal Challengers] Bangalore and Chennai [Super Kings], they are the sort o teams that are harder to beat. Deccan [Chargers] have always got a good team, but I think in general MI and CSK are the teams to beat.
End of the Shane Warne era at RR
“Time to move on”
Warnie [Shane Warne] was great for us for a long time; we won the competition in the first championship. Everyone knows how great a captain he has been, but it’s time for us to move on as a franchise. Rahul Dravid has taken over since then and we couldn’t find a better man to replace Warne. [Dravid] is excited about our team and I am looking forward to this IPL probably more than any other year.
“Warne and Dravid are opposites”
They are opposites, I think. Shane is all about flair and aggression – he is controversial, he’s a controversial character but he also has a very good cricket brain. And Rahul is more of a chilled out, composed, focussed person. The one thing that they do share is their experience and their cricket knowledge is second to none.
The Rajasthan Royals experience “A privilege to play for the Royals”
My whole IPL career I’ve been with Rajasthan [Royals]. Probably the best time I’ve had playing for a team is with Rajasthan Royals, for sure. It’s a family experience out here; everyone gets along so well. We gel really well, even our support staff, so it’s just a matter of putting the performance on the track now – the feeling off the field is really good. It is a privilege to play for RR. I am enjoying every minute of it.
“Pace a double-edged sword”
It can probably win you a game or lose you a game. If a pace bowler like [Dale] Steyn, Brett Lee, myself, [Kemar] Roach blasts through a team and take three wickets in two overs [, you’re through]. On the other hand, if you don’t get it right, you could concede 45 or 50 runs in four overs, which we’ve seen before. So I’ve been concentrating more on my line and length this time rather than just out-and-out pace because it can hurt a team. But if each franchise happens to have a guy who can bowl at 150kmph, I think it’s quite a weapon.