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MI all-rounder cherishes being part of a star-studded set-up
By Harsh Kalan
Pune 11 May 2013
The Mumbai Indians moved a step closer to Play-Off qualification after they overcame the Pune Warriors India at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium. The other big story of this match was the much-anticipated franchise debut of MI’s Million-Dollar Man, Glenn Maxwell.
The Australian all-rounder finally got an opportunity in a crucial match, in which he played the finisher’s role with the bat, after bowling a solitary, and economical, over during the PWI innings.
Maxwell’s cameos – both with bat and ball – exuded the kind of confidence that had eluded him during Australia’s forgettable Test tour of India a couple of months ago.
During his exclusive chat with IPLT20.com, the 24-year-old cited spending the better part of this year in the subcontinent as the reason behind his improved showing in his first IPL 2013 outing. He also talked about what it meant for him to be part of a set-up that includes some of cricket’s biggest names.
Here are excerpts from his exclusive interview:
How does it feel to make your MI debut?
A lot better, now that we have won (laughs). I have been waiting a really long time; I have been training hard in the nets and in the gym. So, I feel it was well-deserved and I am glad I got a crack out there and it was fun.
Were there any special preparations ahead of your maiden cap for MI?
No, Not really. Every game, I try and treat the same.
When did you come to know that you were going to play?
I actually found out before we had lunch today. I was a little bit wary because when I was told that, I was not sure (laughs). Yes, but my name was read out at the toss, and that is when I knew for sure I was going to play.
You bowled a tidy over in the middle. Can we expect you to roll your arm more often in the games to come?
At the moment with our team, I am just there to bowl if we need an extra bowler. So far we have been so good with our five regular bowlers that we don’t need an extra bowler. I am just there if we need an extra over in case there are a few left-handers or if we just need someone to bowl an over to help out in the middle of the innings.
Given that you batted confidently, are the memories of the India-Australia Test series (that the former won 4-0) distant now?
Yes, they are pretty distant. Also, considering it is the white ball now, I am just trying to forget about the Test series. But I am sure those memories are anyway not going to help me. However, I am extremely proud that I made my Test debut against India in India. It was an amazing achievement for me personally, even though we did not win. And I did take with me a lot of that experience into the IPL.
You have spent the better part of 2013 in India. Has that helped you get a leg up on the conditions on offer here?
Exactly right. You get a leg up over everyone else by spending time here. I feel like I have had a lot of time for preparation, and I have played a lot here and trained a lot here. I feel these things are going to help me a lot in the future.There are a lot of tournaments in India throughout the year. So, you have got to adapt to playing here. It is a massive advantage to get used to the conditions over here.
What is it like to be part of a star-studded set-up as MI, where you have the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting?
It is an amazing feeling to be around them. Guys like Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting, whom I have watched while growing up over the last 16-17 years on TV. It is just amazing that I got the chance to actually play with them and be part of a winning team with them. I just want to make the most of this time, and hopefully this will last a long time, as I am loving being here with the Mumbai Indians.
Take a walk around the practice drills of the Sunrisers Hyderabad and you will find a young 20- year old trying to hone his batting skills with a lot of keenness and confidence. In his first stint with the IPL, South African keeper-batsman,Quinton De Kock might not have got the run charts rolling, or made his presence felt, but in De Kock’s ability, his franchise trusts and so does his national side – South Africa.
A string of vital knocks in the previous edition of the Champions League T20s had eyeballs following him. That showing earned him a national call up and an IPL contract as well. From being vested upon the responsibility of possibly taking the mantle over from Mark Boucher to making the most of an IPL season, one cannot help but imagine how the 20-year old is coping up with so much of responsibility when he is still finding his feet in the gentleman’s game.
In this exclusive chat with IPLT20.com, young Quinton De Kock opens up about his aspirations, his fondness towards the IPL and aspects of the game he is working on.
Below is an account of the interaction with the young and hardworking wicket-keeper.
At the age of 20, you don South African colors, are touted as SA’s future prospect and are now a part of the IPL! Is that to much responsibility for one so young, to take over the mantle from former wicket-keeping greats?
Yes (with a smile)! Look there is a lot of responsibility, but it is a path that I have chosen in my career. I am just taking one step at a time and trying to enjoy everything and going about my business. There have been a lot of great wicket-keepers and Mark Boucher is certainly one of them. At the moment, AB De Villiers has put up his hand for the keeper’s spot and I know there are a lot of expectations from me as well. The only thing I can do is to work at my game and just do the best I can do.
With a few international games under the belt and a string of good performances in domestic T20 competitions, did you expect an IPL call?
No, not at all! I was not expecting a call from the IPL. After the Champions League I insisted my name be put forward for the IPL, just in case I do get picked up. Sunrisers Hyderabad picked me up for which I am grateful. I was very happy and excited when I heard about the news.
You have got three games in the IPL so far. Are you disappointed you could not make the most of it?
I feel people are thinking I have yet not got used to the Indian wickets yet, but that is not true. If you go back and see my dismissals, two out of the three were to brilliant catches. It is not something that is in my control. I have just gone back to my basics, working on my technique and trying to take things forward from there.
Do you think you are just one hit away from striking form?
I do not think it takes one knock to get back into form. It takes a couple of knocks and a lot of consistency to open up people’s eyes. I have not made an impact in the games I have got, but my time will come again though.
How has facing Amit Mishra and Karan Sharma in the nets helped you play spin?
India is known for spin bowlers and it helps a lot to understand how to play spin while facing spinners like Mishra and Karan at the nets. You get to know about the turn and bounce and how you have to adapt and change your batting style to play spin bowling. I am learning a lot and I hope I can put them to use in the games to come and in the future if at all I get to tour India.
SRH captain, keeper - Kumar Sangakkara; has he helped your game?
Sanga just sheds his experience to everyone. He is such a great person; he is always there to help you technique wise or keeping wise. He is always guiding me and giving me valuable inputs. It is great to be a part of the SRH setup that has so many great ambassadors of cricket.
How different is the IPL experience from other T20 leagues back home?
The IPL experience has been completely different for me. The crowds have been fantastic, very different from the crowds back home in South Africa. The crowds in South Africa just give you a polite clap, but here the passion for the game is on a different level.
How does it feel when the crowd cheers for you when you walk on the field?
I do not think they clap for me. I am not well known here. If I walk with Dale Steyn or some other player from the team whom the people love, then everybody cheers for him or asks for a picture or an autograph. But I am really happy to see the support that our team receives in our home ground.
Who has been your cricketing inspiration as a kid?
I used to be in awe of Adam Gilchrist when I was young, but now I cannot be because we (SRH) are playing against them (KXIP) in the competition.
How important is this IPL stint for you?
I just want to take every bit of experience I can from this IPL, learn and train as much as I can in the conditions on offer. I am going to wait for my opportunities, if it does not come this year, I am going to wait for the next year and display my skills.