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Prajakta Pawar in Jaipur 09 April 2013 - 02:49am IST

Claiming Kallis’ wicket was a big moment for Rahul Shukla

Plan was not to give width to batsmen says pacer

Jharkhand pacer Rahul Shukla was over the moon when he claimed the wicket of Jacques Kallis in his second game for the Rajasthan Royals. The wicket was a crucial breakthrough and helped the fight back and was also a personal triumph for the young pacer to be able to pocket the scalp of one of the best batsman in the world.

Defending 144 runs, the youngster dealt a double blow in the third over of the Kolkata Knight Riders innings after they had got off to a flying start. The pacer castled Manvinder Bisla and a ball later sent back Kallis, caught behind, to give his team a chance to fight back.

His fellow pacers then picked wickets at regular intervals and did not let the opposition recover and ensured a victory for the Rajasthan Royals in their first home game of the season.

Shukla who has been in good form in domestic cricket, came into the Pepsi Indian Premier League 2013 and has turned out to be one of the key wicket-takers for his team. Encouraged by his captain Rahul Dravid and senior fellow pacers S Sreesanth and Shaun Tait the youngster now has two big scalps against his name from two games – Mahela Jaywardene (in the first game) and Kallis.

An overjoyed Shukla spoke to iplt20.com briefly after the win about the match and his scalps.

Excerpts from the brief post-match interview:

On Kallis’ wicket being a memorable moment for him?

In the first match that I played against Delhi Daredevils I was very nervous but I got the wicket of Mahela Jaywardene and then today I got Kallis out and it has given me tremendous confidence.

On his celebration after sending back Kallis and whether he had planned for the dismissal?

No, there was no planning. Kallis is my favourite batsman and taking his wicket was a
big moment and I am very happy. I was to bowl at his body and fast and that is what I did and it worked.

On what was the plan when he was introduced into the attack especially since KKR had scored 18 of the first two overs?

Our planning was not to give width to the batsman. The wicket was fast (had pace in it) and if you give width to the batsman, the delivery could go for a boundary. So I bowled to Bisla, fast and on the stumps and that uprooted his stumps and then I fumbled and fell (on the next ball) and the next one again I bowled fast (and got wicket). So the plan was not to give width to the batsman.

On the pace attack getting purchase out of the wicket for RR?

They had Brett Lee but we had Shaun Tait, S Sreesanth and me and then we also had Kevon Cooper and Siddharth Trivedi. We had a good pace attack and we had worked on it and executed it well.

On Brad Hodge playing a crucial innings?

Yes there was Brad Hodge’s innings and also Dishant Yagnik hit Sunil Narine for runs. He made quick 16 runs and that helped too.

On Siddharth Trivedi following up with quick wickets after him?

That made a lot of difference. Even after I took two wickets there run rate was good. They were scoring runs. But he didn’t concede runs and also took wickets which put pressure on them and they lost wickets.

On Eoin Morgan’s capitalising on the half-chance that he survived early on and whether that mounted pressure on the Royals as he kept KKR in the game? 

It was a tough catch to hold on to and Watson tried, you can’t do much about that. Yes there was a bit of pressure later on. When I bowled to him he hit me through the covers and he hit me for a six too. So then I bowled a slower one to him. He was bringing it close and but then once he got out the match was ours.

On Kevon Cooper’s spell and finishing the game for RR once again?

Yes, he is really good.

On learning and advice by Shaun Tait?

Sreesanth and Tait have been very helpful. They have been encouraging and boosting my confidence. While bowling in a match having confidence is very important. They help me a lot.

On advise by skipper Rahul Dravid?

He is my favourite batsman and a very good person and he has also been helping me a lot and encouraging me. He tells me I am good player and that certainly boosts my confidence.

What do you think is your strength?

I bowl good Yorkers, slower ones. With the new ball I use pace and bowl fast and then in the slog I can bowl the slower ones.

On whether he considers pace being his strength and what he focuses on?

It depends on the situation of the match. Today when I bowled fast I gave away runs so then shifted to bowling slower deliveries. Having variety in your bowling is important while playing twenty20 matches.

On his preparation leading up to the IPL?

Yes I did prepare, worked on slower and back-hand slower, Yorker. I played twenty20 for the state team in domestic tournament and did well (it has helped). It is important that I do well. 

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