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Shirin Sadikot in Mohali 22 May 2014 - 02:05am IST

My best T20 knock: Simmons

MI opener wants his 100 to be an innings that would take the team to the Playoffs

He went unsold in the 2014 IPL Player Auction. Then, with the tournament halfway down, Lendl Simmons was called up by the Mumbai Indians to replace their uncapped player, Jalaj Saxena. Hence, the West Indian batsman made his IPL debut.

His IPL career of five matches so far looks like this: 38, 68, 12, 62 and 100* – the last one coming in a win against Kings XI Punjab in a perform-or-perish match for MI. It was also a game where Pepsi IPL 2014 saw its first century. Lendl Simmons carried his bat through MI’s 157-run chase, scored 100 off 61 balls, and hit 14 fours and two sixes.

After receiving his Man of the Match award, the man of many cricket shots but very few words, spoke to IPLT20.com about his best T20 knock.

Here are excerpts from his interview:

Was this your best T20 knock?

Yes, I’ll say so. This 100 is very special. I am just grateful for the chance to play in the IPL after not being picked up in the auction. In my first game, I scored 38 and then have built on that. This is a great feeling, scoring the first century of this IPL season and my first century in a long time.

You came here late, but that didn’t stop you from seeing and conquering!

Since Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard have played for MI, they always vouched on me to the owners that I am a good player and that they should bid for me. They kept telling me that one day I will get an opportunity to play for Mumbai Indians. They were right. The call came and here I am! I can bat and I back myself to bat the team to winning positions. I don’t take any pressure and just go out there to express myself.

With you and Mike Hussey, do you think MI have finally found an answer to their opening quandary?

Cricket is not a certain game and you can never say that we have found a stable combination in any aspect of the game. In the T20 format, you don’t have a stable batting order; you just go with your best combination on the day.

What is the best thing about batting with Mike Hussey?

He’s a very cool guy, very relaxed and doesn’t get flustered at all. He’s very down to earth and he keeps talking to you while batting, which is very good. He helped me a lot today during my first 50 runs, walking up to me every now and then and giving me confidence. He is very good to bat with and great to have around in the team.

Is this knock more satisfying, given it has kept MI’s Playoffs hopes alive?

It is satisfying, but I’ll be more satisfied with this knock if it helps us make the Playoffs. If we get there, I’ll be able to look back at this knock and say, ‘Yes, I had a big impact on us getting into the top four’.

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