Gambhir's backing helped me perform, says Pathan

Gambhir's backing helped me perform, says Pathan

 With his hard-hitting nature and high-scoring ability, the amount of value Yusuf Pathan brings to the Kolkata Knight Riders cannot be overstressed. However, a quiet season in the lead up to the game against the Royal Challengers Bangalore here on Monday had raised questions over his match-winning abilities, for which he is known for.

Despite the ordinary start to his IPL-9 campaign, the 33-year-old believed in himself and the Knight Riders’ team management maintained their faith in him. And on Monday, when his team was under pressure chasing a strong total against the Challengers, Yusuf delivered, rewarding his management for their persistence with him.

When Yusuf joined forces with Andre Russell, the Knight Riders faced an uphill task of scoring 117 runs off 59 balls with six wickets in hand. However, in the able company of Russell, Yusuf unleashed an attacking innings that demoralised the RCB bowling. Though the flurry of boundaries from his willow seemed easy to come by, Yusuf stressed that the chase was a difficult task to achieve.

“It is not easy. When you come in with two or three overs to go and you need to hit big shots every ball, you won't have that kind of consistency. But I back myself. After spending two or three overs at the crease, you get into the zone and things become easier,” said Yusuf.

Before coming into the match, the scores of 9 n.o., 12 n.o., 36, 19 n.o. ad 10 didn’t present a confident picture but Yusuf had the backing of skipper Gautam Gambhir. Gambhir, like he has done in the past, showed confidence in Yusuf and the Baroda batsman didn’t disappoint his skipper.

“Gambhir is a very good captain and he believes in, and backs his players under any situation. For example, Piyush (Chawla) gave away some runs in his first two overs but Gambhir trusted him and gave him the ball again. And he picked up wickets later on. It is important that your captain backs you all the time,” Yusuf remarked.

The Knight Riders had suffered two consecutive defeats before their tie against RCB, with their middle order struggling to step up when it mattered. Their management though didn’t tinker with the middle order too much and Yusuf appreciated the encouragement from the coaching staff.

“I thank Jacques Kallis (head coach) and Simon Katich (assistant coach) for trusting me and giving me ten overs to bat. Kallis knows how to strategise very well - whom to send for bowling or whom to send for batting in what situation. All the four coaches, when they are in the dugout, and when we are batting, play a big role and are always involved,” said Yusuf.

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