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Asked to bat first, the Kolkata Knight Riders were cruising along at a steady pace, when Kings XI Punjab’s leg-spinner Karanveer Singh dealt a double-blow to remove Shakib Al Hasan and the big-hitting Yusuf Pathan off consecutive deliveries.
Although the leg-spinner couldn’t complete a hat-trick, he bowled his heart out while looking to restrict the hosts. Brought into the playing XI towards the business end of the tournament, Karanveer has claimed seven wickets from three games – three of which came in Qualifier 1. While speaking to IPLT20.com after the match, he talked about how he planned for the big wickets of Yusuf and Shakib and the fearlessness required while bowling in the shortest format of the game.
Excerpts from his interview:
After getting an opportunity towards the business end of the tournament, how do you prepare for key contests?
I had started preparing long before the tournament started. I was in touch with Sanjay Bangar sir after the Kings XI Punjab picked me at the Auction and worked on his advice. And although I didn’t play in the initial matches, I was working in the nets. And after getting the chance, I am giving my 100 percent.
How had you planned for Yusuf Pathan’s wicket?
His was a very important wicket and so was Shakib’s (Al Hasan). I was thinking about both of them since yesterday night. I had it at the back of my mind that I can get them out by varying my pace rather than bowling the same deliveries, and that worked for me.
You were on a hat-trick with the wickets of Yusuf and Shakib. What were you thinking while bowling the hat-trick ball to Suryakumar Yadav?
I wasn’t thinking about it too much. I was just thinking of doing what I do and not doing anything extra.
While you got three wickets, you were also hit for a few sixes and fours. How do you cope with getting hit?
They are part of the game. And in this format, you are bound to get hit. And they were looking to attack me, which was creating chances for them to get out. In such situations, I back myself and try to bowl my best deliveries.
Do you feel fearlessness is a prerequisite for spinners?
Yes, very much, especially in this format. Given the pressure and the crowd, it’s important to have that attitude. And we work on that. The coach, bowling coach and the captain emphasise on playing fearlessly.
And besides, getting hit is also part of the game. The batsmen are there to hit you. So, we focus on our strengths and work on those.
Flight and loop are keys for a leg-spinner; how do you work to use them?
Flight and loop – both the things are my strength. So, I try and use them as much as I can.
How encouraging was it to see leg-spinners getting wickets in the tournament?
I feel that leg-spinners always have a better chance of getting wickets. And it was encouraging to see leg-spinners get wickets and it motivated me.
Robin Uthappa has certainly hit a purple patch in his purple jersey. He is the leading run-scorer in Pepsi Indian Premiere League 2014 and now he looks to carry this good form as he gets an opportunity to don the India jersey after six years.
On Wednesday evening, when Uthappa was creaming the Kings XI Punjab bowlers at Eden Gardens, news came in that he had made it to the India ODI side. He is now all set to take the flight to Bangladesh where India play three ODIs next month. For Uthappa, it is about his prolific run in the domestic circuit and in the ongoing IPL getting rewarded.
In this exclusive chat with IPLT20.com, Uthappa speaks about the Knight Riders’ dream run and his desire to win matches for India.
Excerpts from his interview:
Eight wins on the trot for KKR; does it seem like a fairytale?
(Smiles) It is a dream run and we have played really well. The initial hiccups were through and we knew every game was important. The most crucial thing was that we were taking it one game at a time, which helped us perform in each game. We gelled very well as a unit.
What has been the highlight of all these wins?
The highlight has to be the fact that everyone contributed and performed well in every aspect of the game. We did well in all the three departments in most games, which has worked for us. Also, if one of those aspects failed, the other two made up for it. Even today, our batting did not come off as well as it should have, but our bowling and fielding made up for it.
How geared up was the team, especially when you knew you were just one step away from the Final?
There was a lot of energy on the field today. We had the winning momentum going our way and we were really happy. We understand that there is still one game to go, which is an important game. We will take the rest that we will get in the next couple of days and prepare ourselves for the Final.
Good to be back in Bengaluru, your home ground, for the final?
Oh, yes! A few of us in this KKR side are from Karnataka and we are looking forward to going back home and playing in front of the home crowd. I think our home crowd will support us. We always ride on the support of the crowd and the atmosphere is going to be amazing.
How satisfied are you with your own form?
I am pretty disappointed with the way I have been getting out. I have been setting myself up for a big score but have not been able to get it. I am a bit upset with that since I am not fulfilling what I am setting out to do for my team. Even today, I should have gone ahead and completed my job, but ended up doing only half of it. I set high standards for myself and I see myself falling short of those standards and that is why I am disappointed. There is still one game to go and I am pretty confident that I will do well if I stick to my game plans.
How does it feel to be back in the ODI side? Do you think your hard work has finally paid off?
I wouldn’t say it has paid off as yet, but it has given me an opportunity to reap benefits. It is not about being a part of the Indian team; it is about winning matches for my country right now. I am grateful that I have got that opportunity and I am looking forward to it. I am happy that my performances have given me a chance to play for my country and I feel proud about that fact. I want to win matches for India and perform my role as an opening batsman to the best of my ability. At this point of time though I am only thinking about the next game in the IPL. I have had a dream of a season, winning almost everything in the domestic circuit, and to top it up with the IPL title would be amazing.