IPL 2015: Kallis defends rusty Azhar’s inclusion

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IPL 2015: Kallis defends rusty Azhar’s inclusion

"We felt including him would give that extra seam action as well as strengthening our batting in seaming conditions."


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Published: Tue 19 May 2015, 12:48 AM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 9:40 PM

Mumbai — Kolkata Knight Riders’ mentor Jacques Kallis has defended his side’s surprise inclusion of rusty Azhar Mehmood in the playing eleven in their crunch IPL cricket game against Rajasthan Royals -- which they lost -- as a horse for the course policy.

“It was a tough call. There was some extra grass on the wicket and it looked like it would help the seamers a little bit extra. There was not too much for the spinners. We felt including him would give that extra seam action as well as strengthening our batting in seaming conditions. It ended up being a really good wicket,” said Kallis at the post-match press conference last night.

Defending champions KKR failed to chase an imposing target of 200 and lost the match by nine runs to be virtually out of contention for a play-off berth.

The victory, on the other hand, has propelled 2008 champions Rajasthan into the play-offs with 16 points from 14 games.

“Probably it was a side that we were not used to playing but still the players who came in were good enough and capable to produce the goods. That’s the disappointing part,” observed former South Africa all-rounder Kallis.

Pakistan-born and England-based Mehmood, who did not get a look-in in the first 13 games, was included in place of West Indian bowler Sunil Narine and was very expensive in his three overs, giving away 41 runs, and then made just six while batting in the huge run-chase.

“It was a tough selection. Obviously the wicket here is more seam-friendly than spin friendly. Sunny (Narine) probably has not been the same bowler, has been under the spotlight. He is working hard in his action. He is probably not as effective as he was last season. It will take time,” Kallis said. — PTI

Gambhir reckons KKR messed it up

With his side’s chances of proceeding to the play-offs looking slim, Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Gautam Gambhir on Saturday said his boys messed up the Indian Premier League game against Rajasthan Royals here.

“Obviously our destiny was in our hands, but we seem to have messed it up. Lot of credit to the Royals,’ said Gambhir after the nine-run defeat at the Brabourne Stadium.

The skipper said the 199/6 posted by the Royals would have been tough to overhaul as chasers on any wicket. He also praised man of the match Shane Watson, who struck a 59 ball 104 for the Royals.

In reply to the Royals’ challenging score, the Kinghts could manage 190/9. “199 would be tough on any wicket. Credit to Shane the way he batted. If a top order batsman bat through more often than not they’d win,” said Gambhir.

“170-180 could have been an ideal total, we knew it would he high-scoring.” Kolkata’s chances of making it to the play-offs look very tough as they have secured 15 points from 14 games. They are now placed fourth, but would be overtaken by the winner of the Sunrisers Hyderabad versus Mumbai Indians match.

However, Knights could be in with a chance if the Hyderabad-Mumbai match is washed out.

Another mathematical possibility favouring the Knights could be if in the other Sunday outing, Delhi Daredevils inflict a very huge defeat on Royal Challenger Bangalore.

Talking about the title holders’ campaign, Gambhir said “The points table shows all sides are quality. It’s one of the difficult leagues to play. We’ve played reasonably good cricket but there are games we should have won. That’s why we’re here.

“It’s going to be tough, but you have to take it on your chin and move on” — IANS

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