Interview of Cricket Fans – 178 – INDIA
Thank you for your participation in this interview, firstly tell us a bit about yourself and your early memories of the game.
Hello to everyone reading this, I hope all will be fine. First things first, Jay, it’s an absolute pleasure to be here, thanks for giving me this opportunity. Now coming straight to your question.
To be honest, I do not remember when did I commence watching this beautiful game but the earliest memory of me watching cricket comes to my mind is the 2011 World Cup final, I was just 5 and a half years old then. That MS Dhoni remarkable finish plus the Ravi Shastri’s iconic lines, the ecstatic celebrations of mine still appear in front of my eyes now when I reminisce it. As I grew older, my love for the game had escalated like a snowball effect. All I can say is cricket has been the heart and soul of my body or you can say that it’s like another lease of life for me. I always have been extremely inquisitive about the game. Now it has been more than a decade since I have been following it with all the madness, and have learnt innumerable aspects of the game and from the game too. All my emotions and sentiments have been glued to it and I have been completely obsessed with this sport. I numerous times associate things/difficulties going on in my life with cricket and it becomes way better than what it was before.
Few words on the man in your dp?
Well, Kannur Lokesh Rahul or KL Rahul has been the cricketer whom I have adored immensely. My love affair with him began in 2018 IPL, his terrific performances in the shirts of Kings XI Punjab/Punjab Kings made me an ardent fanatic of him. Haven’t seen him doing better clean hitting than I saw in that IPL, his batting was so pleasing to the eyes. Then comes the Old Trafford magnificent hundred which was entirely filled with class, I have very fond memories of that game. Since then, there have been several ups and downs in his career notwithstanding this I have been extremely loyal to him as a supporter and as a fan. Though I still believe that he hasn’t achieved in International cricket what he has the potential of, hopefully, his glory years are yet to arrive. Furtherly, I desperately wish to watch his redemption in the whites, it has been two long year’s since we all saw him. I believe he has made a giant leap in the technicalities of the game, looks relatively mature, just hope that the team management gives him an opportunity and him pouncing on the opportunity. Optimistically, in the forthcoming England series, fingers are crossed.
Do you feel he will be in the playing XI for the T20 World Cup?
At this point, I will assert yes, he will be included in the XI of T20 WC. I suspect he is above in the pecking order from the likes of Shikhar, Prithvi, Ishan etc. Yet it also depends on how the remaining part of IPL goes off all in contention. Likewise, if Virat wants to open, then KL can bat at no. 3 too, he has a T20I century at that position but below no. 3 his capabilities will be underutilized. There is a notion in the public about his game in the recent past of he is being circumspect, he isn’t taking risks due to his IPL performances so he should not open with Rohit in WT20 but on the contrary, my point is that there’s a huge disparity between a franchise and International cricket. I reckon if Virat, Ravi and team management can give him a straightforward message to express himself, play his natural game and make full use of power-play then he could even be more deadly than Rohit and be India’s X-factor for the WT20. Furthermore, free-flowing KL Rahul permits Rohit to take his time upfront and then explode.
And what about India’s chances for this ICC event? And which teams will qualify for the semis?
India has a very bright chance in the upcoming World T20. They look certain of reaching the semi-finals as they have got a relatively easier group, not omitting the fact that anything can happen in T20Is on a given day. The real test of the team will begin in the knockout stages, in the last 6 ICC tournaments we have failed to cross the final hurdle. They need to hold their nerves during the crunch moments.
Moreover, if the pitches will get sluggish match by match, will offer some turn then it would be ideal for our boys as I feel India could be a better T20I team on 155-165 kinds of tracks as compared to 190-200 kinds of belters. Coming to the other part of your question, in my opinion, the semi-finalists of this WT20 will be the same as World T20 2016, i.e. India, New Zealand, England and West Indies. Australia could push but their new lads don’t seem to have that fuel and some of the seniors might not be playing it.
India tour of England, 4th August, A five match test series, thoughts?
I am greatly eager about the England series. Winning in England is a daunting task notwithstanding I believe this is one of the best chances to win a series in England. India’s record hasn’t been that splendid in England, they have been proclaimed victorious only three times (71, 86 and 2007). In 2018 we lost 4-1, but the scoreline doesn’t testify to how tight was that series, we could have won in Edgbaston, Ageas Bowl and Oval but English tail and their frontline bowlers always put up their hand in pressure situations which directed them to the series win. We have noticed in the past years, the perennial problem of Indian batting is struggling against swing bowlers, so if this time around our batting can take the onus and regularly post respectable totals then our possibility of being victorious will be strengthened. English batting is now fairly inexperienced other than Root and Stokes and has been extremely ordinary in the past two series, also we don’t know if Anderson and Broad will be steaming in as they did in 2014 and 18. Scoring runs in England would be the pinnacle and multiple batters are gonna be looking forward to it. Will summarise it by saying that India should rock-bottom win 2 matches in the impending series, and I anticipate the Indian batting lineup will perform reasonably well compared to what they did in the last three England series.
Who’s your favourite overseas player?
I can count you 15-25 overseas players whom I like passionately but as I can pick and choose only one then it has to be Nicholas Pooran. One of the reasons is that he plays for Punjab Kings so I watch him extremely carefully, plus he is exceptionally skilful. During the IPL 2019, he caught my eye, and I got enamoured with him. A fascinating player whom I have always rated very highly till now. He’s just 25 years old prodigy, has been very stupendous, prime is yet to come, several legends of the game have praised him, could be the future skipper of Men In Maroon in the limited-overs format. So definitely he has an incredible future lying ahead and could very possibly be the next superstar of Windies cricket.
Tell us about your favourite IPL team?
My favourite IPL team is Kings XI Punjab/Punjab Kings. It’s not just because I belong to Punjab, but I started watching IPL with all seriousness in 2014 and in that year KXIP was looking the best team by a mile. The likes of Miller, Axar, Sandy and primarily ‘Big Show’ was on song in that IPL which in the end made me an avid fan of this franchise. In the finals that year we, unfortunately, couldn’t defend 200 odd, which I am still unable to digest. It has been very tough being a fan of KXIP since 2014, year after year setbacks and heartbreak continues. They show a lot of promise on paper but fail to execute it properly on the field. Our management is very impatient, there’s no consistency in the team and that’s why we have been lacking to qualify for the knockouts from the last six seasons. Likewise this season too it will be tough to qualify for them, but it’s IPL and anything can happen, we have seen many franchises coming from behind like we almost did in the last season.
Your lineup for the first test against England?
I’ll go with this lineup :
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