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Manan Vohra is one of the young domestic cricketers graduating from junior cricket into the senior league along with a few other who have been making waves for at least a season or two. Having got the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the legends of the game the youngsters are eager to make most of it. They are in awe of their idols and starry eyed and at the same time keen to absorb whatever they can. Vohra is no exception.
He comes across as a precocious youngster who is glad to get the chance that he has got. Part of the King XI Punjab team the top-order batsman, Vohra has already impressed skipper Adam Gilchrist. And the 19-year old, who is a aggressive batsman by his own admission is not afraid to go over the top is learning to channelise himself in the right direction with guidance from the one man who has single handedly taken apart attacks in his hey days.
“I learn from him in the practice session, how you should hit or (more importantly) when you should hit which is the main part.” “It is an awesome feeling for me (to be part of KXIP). I am learning a lot from these guys (some who are legends already) and they are very motivating. Everyone gels well together and there is no distinction between the youngsters and the seniors, it is one team that’s it,” he said.
“I have been learning more about the mental aspect from these players and how to handle the (different) situations,” he replied when asked about what he has been learning from the experienced campaigners in his squad.
Although he didn’t score many runs and ended up on the losing side in the contest against the Chennai Super Kings, Vohra had played a match winning knock on debut in the previous match, against the Pune Warriors India.
Reflecting on the loss, Vohra said, “I think we should have scored some more runs. It was good batting track and we scored really less runs. The plan was to bowl in the good areas. They were really good, we also bowled well but they were exceptional today.”
“A total of 180 was needed here (to defend). The ball was coming on to the bat really well, but hard luck. We will keep improving in the other games.”
Wickets had fallen in a cluster towards the end of the KXIP innings and when asked about what went wrong, he said, “Don’t know. We were playing well. But when David Hussey got out, a couple of bad shots made it happen (that way).”
With still a long way to go in the tournament the youngster is glad to have had the opportunity and is looking forward to the rest of the season. “It was a good feeling for me obviously. I really never expected a lot of things. For me what matters is just to play match to match and win as many games for my team as I can. Now let’s see how it goes. It has started well (for me),” he said.
Speaking about the platform that IPL has presented to young players, he observed, “This is one of the main platforms. If you perform well on this circuit you get good chances at the international level. So I think it is a good chance for the Under-19 players.” Asked about the captain’s advice to him, he said, “I have been training under him (Gilchrist) for two years. He says you are a champion, go out there and enjoy your game you will do well obviously.”
‘UNBELIEVABLE!’ was the one word that debutant Chris Morris used often as he discussed and described his various experiences since arriving in India for the Pepsi Indian Premier League 2013. The young all-rounder landed in India to play in the Pepsi Indian Premier League 2013 after being part of the Lions team that won Ram Slam T20 Challenge on April 7 and helped the Chennai Super Kings win their first match of the season.
Morris hit the ground running when he stepped on the field at Mohali to make his IPL debut. Roped in by the Chennai Super Kings ahead of the season he added to the team’s armoury as they looked to beat the Adam Gilchrist-led side at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in the battle of the Kings.
The tall pacer claimed Azhar Mahmood as his first scalp of the premier competition and gave the visitors a major breakthrough after Dirk Nannes had dealt early blows to the home team. He followed it up with a superb catch off Dwayne Bravo to send back Rajagopal Sathish and also removed Ryan Harris to finish with 4-0-27-2.
Looking back upon his contribution to a winning cause he told iplt20.com, “Unbelievably happy with my first (match). If anyone would have told me before the game what my figures would have been I would have taken it. I am happy with the performance and the guys played really well.”
Recalling his first wicket of the IPL claimed a few hours back, the excited pacer said, “It was unbelievable to get the first. I knew he was going to have a go. I thought I would take the pace off (the ball) and fortunately it worked for me and because he is quite a dangerous player. I am very happy that my plans worked.”
But it wasn’t as smooth sailing as it seemed. The youngster did have butterflies in his stomach and spent a nervous night preceding the big day. “I found out yesterday (that I was going to play). I had a bit of a run on with the team and Stephan Fleming came to me and said we need you in this role. Then I had a rough night’s sleep and got it together this morning. But yes very exciting. I left my bag at the hotel so quite nervy but very, very happy with the result.”
Besides his own contribution, the rest of the bowling attack worked in tandem with each other after Dirk Nannes set the ball rolling with the wickets of both the KXIP openers while Dwayne Bravo claimed three. Reflecting on the performance of the bowling unit to restrict the hosts to a small total, he said, “I think we bowled well. It was a good wicket to bat on, and I thought the guys played well to pull it back the way they did. They got a good start so I am very happy with the way we pulled things back in the end.”
“Unbelievable! Lovely to watch the guys, they are brilliant,” he said while talking about the Murali Vijay-Michael Hussey partnership that took them to victory without losing a wicket.
It hasn’t been long since he came into the CSK fold but already feels part of the star studded twice champions team.
Speaking about his team Morris said, “Coming into the team I know the fitness trainer very well and I also know couple of other players as well. It’s quite a family environment and they are close knit. The last day and half has been unbelievable. They are very nice guys, very welcoming and have an unbelievable team spirit.”
“God, I am rubbing shoulders with some of the greatest players that have played the game. I am still a youngster and enjoying every second of it,” he gushed about sharing space with some of the best in the game.
“He is very, very different. He is very calm and laid back. Unbelievable, there are some good ideas and lot of responsibility on the bowlers,” he observed on skipper MS Dhoni.
The youngster who is in India for the first time, felt a little different on the Mohali track and said, “There is not as much bounce as South Africa and that I have to get used to, but I will work in practice and every single game and I will get better.
“Unbelievable! The crowds are absolutely insane and (I am) loving it. I have never waved so much at a crowd in my life,” stated the youngster who witnessed packed, passionate and vociferous crowds for the first time in his career.