Playing for KKR helped my bowling: Abdulla

Left-arm spinner learnt a lot from Gautam Gambhir and Jacques Kallis

Mumbai 21 March 2012
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

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.
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