Glad Yuvi’s bat got me runs: Gurkeerat Singh

Youngster feels influence of Gilchrist, Hussey helping domestic players

Kolkata 27 April 2013
He is well known for his 12-ball 29 in a thrilling run chase against the Deccan Chargers for KXIP’s four-wicket victory in the IPL last year. This year he shot into the limelight with an outstanding catch at fine leg to dismiss Ross Taylor in the initial stages of the tournament, wherein he was the photographer’s delight.

With nerves of steel, hunger for runs and eagerness to succeed, Gurkeerat Singh is among the fresh crop of domestic players who is grabbing the attention of all the right eye-balls. He might not have the best of numbers in the IPL this year, but the 22-year-old middle order batsman is known to make useful contributions towards the end of the innings and give his side momentum.

Against the Kolkata Knight Riders on Friday, he chipped in with a quick-fire 28 off 15 balls towards the fag end of the innings, which helped Kings XI get to a respectable total of 149. In this chat with, Gurkeerat talks about the influence of Adam Gilchrist to a young side, the fielding standards of the Kings XI Punjab and Yuvraj Singh’s bat that he believes helped him get the runs. 

You got severe in the end of the innings against KKR, what was your approach to the game in the death overs?

I came to bat when there were just five overs left. I started the innings trying to get my eye in. But once I got my eye in, there was no looking back. In the last over as well, you have no option but to hit out. I had confidence in me to go for my shots and I was sure they would come off well. I knew this was the over to cash in, because in the previous over Sunil Narine gave away just two. We had no options but to attack L Balaji and I was glad we could get 18 off him in the end.

Talking about Narine, is he a major name discussed in team meetings?

Not really, but we do plan to play the bowlers according to their merit. I think the best option is to play safe against Narine. If you are not able to read him, it is better that you take singles against him instead of giving away your wicket. We just wanted to see Narine off and give him no wickets, because he gets more confident when he takes wickets.

How difficult is it to score right from the word go?

Whatever be the situation, you have to take some time to settle down. I always try to get my eye in first, try to work my innings by taking singles and doubles in the initial stages of my batting. Once my eye is set, I just go for the kill and try to score as freely as possible.

Did you think you could defend 150?

We had discussed before entering the field that we will not relax for one moment. May it be 60 for no loss or 20 for 3, we decided that we will not let go off the game at any time of the game. We had them under pressure by taking two quick wickets in the run chase. But Bisla, Kallis and Morgan played well to take KKR home.

Two crucial catches dropped? Do you think they were the turning points of the game? How crucial is fielding in T20s?

Holding on to catches is really crucial, but you cannot help it when catches are dropped. No one does it on purpose. Sometimes they stick, sometimes they do not. Had we held on two those two dropped chances off Manvinder Bisla and Eoin Morgan, the outcome could have been different. Having said that, there is a lot of effort that goes into fielding. Fielding is one of the main aspects of T20s, and we spend a lot of time in practice sessions on fielding. We have been a good fielding side, just that today there were a few lapses.

What are the positives you take from this game?

I think we did reasonably well by getting 149 on the board. The confidence will not drop with this loss. We have not been having a good opening partnership and it was a good sign to see that aspect of the game doing well in this game. We also scored well in the end of the innings.

Kings XI Punjab rely a lot on domestic talent, what are these players learning from the IPL experience?

It is always a big opportunity for domestic players to perform and we are thankful to the Kings XI Punjab management who trust our abilities. We will prove ourselves in the opportunities we get. Experienced players like Adam Gilchrist, David Hussey and Azhar Mahmood give us a lot of confidence. We all have done well in domestic cricket and we know how to tackle situations. The experienced players tell us how to tackle tough situations better and I believe we have been doing well in that aspect which has helped us not just in the IPL, but also while playing domestic cricket.

Who is one cricketer you admire the most?

I admire Yuvraj Singh. He is my favorite player. He speaks a lot to me about my game. In the last game too, he told me what areas to work on and how to go about my batting in different situations. He gave me a bat in the last game and Friday, I played with his bat. Thankfully I kept the reputation of hitting sixes with that (Smiles).
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