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Kings XI Punjab finished their Pepsi Indian Premier League 2013 season on a high and gave their skipper Adam Gilchrist a fitting send off. Although KXIP lost the toss and couple of wickets early on, the 148-run third wicket stand involving Azhar Mahmood (80 off 44) andShaun Marsh carried the team to a formidable total that proved enough to stop the Mumbai Indians.
Marsh who scored 63 off 47 with 11 boundaries spoke to IPLT20.com about the game and playing under the legendary wicketkeeper-batsman, Adam Gilchrist.
Excerpts from the interview:
A comprehensive win against MI, a perfect send off for Adam Gilchrist?
Yes, it definitely was! It couldn’t have been scripted better at the end for him to get that wicket. It has been a fantastic three years with him. The Kings XI have really enjoyed having him around, he has been a world class player for so long and he is a fantastic bloke as well. He is a legend of the game! It was great to see him get the last wicket.
What has it been like to bat alongside him?
It is always a great honour and a thrill when you are walking out with Gilly. And he is someone that not only myself but some of the people look up to around the world and to get an opportunity to play with him. To get to know him a little bit better and become friends with him is something I will never forget.
What was the plan after losing two wickets early?
We knew that I and Azhar (Mahmood) had to just try and build a partnership, give ourselves a little bit of time between two to six overs. We couldn’t really afford to lose another wicket quickly. But Azhar Mahmood played a really exceptional innings. It just shows what a quality player he is.
What is it like batting against Lasith Malinga?
He is a fantastic bowler, a world class bowler and he is always tough to play against him.
Feels good to be amongst runs with a big season ahead?
It is always nice to do well and score a few runs and see wins and that’s the main thing. It was nice to finish off on a nice positive note personally and for the team as well.
Have you at any point felt the need to alter your batting approach for T20, being such a classical player?
Not really. I just know that I have to play to my strengths and if I do that and hopefully by the end of the innings if I am still around and putting the team in a good position. I love playing T20 cricket, I love playing in front of big crowds and it was a nice way to finish on Saturday night.
Where do you think KXIP lost the plot while some other teams managed to pull through?
We probably didn’t start well, and we lost a few games in the middle as well that put us on the back-foot a bit. In the end, coming in the last few games, we had to rely on other results and that’s how we did it and this position we put ourselves in. We have no one else to blame but ourselves. We take a lot of positives out of it as well, from the way we finished. Against the bigger teams we came close to beating them. It gives us a lot of confidence moving forward, I think.
How has it been playing alongside David Hussey?
He is one of the great players around. He is probably one of the best T20 players in the world and to get a chance to play with him and to learn stuff off him is fantastic. I am glad to be able to spend a lot of fun time with him.
How do you sum up your six seasons with KXIP?
I love the Kings XI, I love the franchise. I love the people, I love the owners. It is a great place to play cricket, very friendly people and it has been a lot of fun, the last six years.
Like any sportsperson Rishi Dhawan too would have liked to end up on the winning side while playing on his home ground, but it was not to be for the young Mumbai Indians pacer. In their last league game of the Pepsi Indian Premier League 2013 against Kings XI Punjab, MI’s Dhawan claimed his first wicket of the season in his fourth match.
In the contest at the HPCA Stadium, the pacer was the most economical of the visitors’ bowling attack and bowled a wicket maiden in his first over and gave MI their first breakthrough with the wicket of Mandeep Singh in the second over after Rohit Sharma opted to bowl first.
While speaking to IPLT20.com after the game, Dhawan shared his experience being with MI and how it has helped his bowling.
Excerpts from the interview:
You got your first wicket of the season in your fourth game. How did you prepare?
While I was sitting on the bench and waiting for my chance to play (I worked on bowling in my mind). I did okay. I gave my hundred percent. My effort was to try and give away as minimum runs possible and take maximum wickets. I focused on my basics and that helped.
How did it feel to play on your home ground and get your first IPL wicket here?
It was a good experience. I am always happy to play here; the atmosphere here is so good. I like this ground a lot so it felt good that I took my first IPL wicket here. In the future too whenever I get an opportunity to play in the IPL I will try to do well.
You were the most economical of the MI bowlers in the game. What did you focus on - containing or wicket-taking?
It depends on the situation that the team is in. If we are being hit for runs then I have to try and be economical. I do the type of bowling that is done in the death overs, bowl Yorkers etc and if we are trying to take wickets, then I try to swing the ball from a good length.
How have you befitted from playing alongside Lasith Malinga and Mitchell Johnson?
I have benefitted a lot. I have got the opportunity to learn a lot of good things and they are both very helpful. In the nets they tell me about how to bowl in different situations and how I can improve and tell me about the basics.
What have you learnt from sharing space with the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting?
I have learnt a lot from them. They are legends so I always try to learn as much as I can from them. If I ask them something they are always there to tell and share. They are always approachable when you seek advice.
What has been their advice and how has it helped in improving his bowling?
There has been a lot of improvement. If I bowl a ball in a wrong way, make a mistake in the nets etc., they never say, why you did this or that. Instead, they teach me, tell me what I should try to do the next time. When there are such big players around then that you definitely get help.
What do you consider as your strength?
I try to swing the ball most of the time. I consider that my strength. The better I swing the ball the more beneficial it is.
How will you sum up your first season in the IPL with MI?
It has been a good experience. The management is very good. It is a very good set-up and there are so many big names here. I am enjoying it and I try to gain as much as I can, learn as much as I can from all of them.