By Lokendra Pratap Sahi
Calcutta (The Telegraph): Sunil Narine, the one player to have had the biggest impact on the Kolkata Knight Riders’s fortunes in IPL-V, spoke to The Telegraph in the lead-up to Sunday’s final.
With 24 wickets in the bag, Narine stands an excellent chance of finishing the competition as its most successful bowler. Incidentally, he turned 24 on Saturday.
The following are excerpts
You’re a mystery off-spinner. Just how many variations do you have?
Probably two or three. I just try to use them as best as I can.
How are you guided in bowling the variations? Do you look at the batsman or look at the score?
I look at what risk I can take, but the team spirit also counts... A good team spirit gives you the confidence to do anything.
Variations hold the key...
(Eagerly) They’re important because the batsmen are getting better and better everyday. Cricket is for batsmen. Everything is going their way and the bowlers have quite a tough job. The more the weapons you have in your armoury as a bowler, the better for you in the long run.
Have you had a role model off-spinner?
Muttiah Muralidharan. I’ve always observed the way he bowls and the way he carries himself. He never gives up in any situation... Always believes in himself.
Did you get to speak to him in this IPL?
Didn’t anybody influence you in the West Indies?
Actually, I’ve learnt everything on my own.
I am living a dream, says Narine
Focusing on bowling in the right areas: Narine
Narine is a magician, says Gavaskar
My dream is to play Test cricket some day: Narine
I have a personal coach, but I’ll probably have to give credit to my dad, Shahid (who works in a restaurant), for making me bowl the knuckle ball.
Why did you take up spin bowling?
I used to bowl seam first, but I went to a tournament and didn’t get to bowl. That was in school... I then decided I should try something different. At the age of 17, I finally chose spin.
You’ve played such a huge role in the Knights’ success. When the IPL began, did you expect to play such a role?
I didn’t expect to do as well as I have done. I see this as a stepping stone. Hopefully, I can continue with this form.
How have you been handling the pressure?
I tend to focus on the game at hand and I try not to think about the crowd’s expectations. That’s because if you think too much about those things, you put yourself under unnecessary pressure. You cannot take five wickets or four wickets every day. In fact, there will be days when you will find it hard to take even two wickets. It’s all part of the game. Whatever the pressure, you try to give your best. That’s what counts.
The Knights’ captain, Gautam Gambhir, is a batsman... What has the experience been playing under him?
Gambhir is pretty calm, yet shows a lot of intensity on the field. He’s good when it comes to talking to the players and motivating them... He doesn’t put you under much pressure. He gives you the ball and says ‘Just focus on what you want to do’. He is very understanding and will ask you about the field you want... Gambhir does what is required for the betterment of the team.
Mental conditioning coach Dr Rudi Webster is a West Indian. Has that been of help?
Rudi played a big part in helping me to settle down. He always kept on asking me questions. By talking to me, he helped me to settle down. Having someone from the Caribbean, whom I could talk to, made it a lot easier for me.
I would like to remain a mystery bowler: Narine
With 24 wickets in the bag, Narine stands an excellent chance of finishing IPL-5 as its most successful bowler.Yahoo! Cricket – Sun 27 May, 2012 11:28 AM IST
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