I was caught off-guard last IPL season: Kirsten
“Yeah could be. It’s a good observation. I think I was without a doubt (caught off-guard). I think I learnt a lot from last year that IPL is different to international cricket. It takes a bit of getting used to for any coach,” Kirsten said during a media interaction after his team’s training session at the Model Sports Complex at the Airforce ground in Palam. Among the problems that Daredevils faced last year, Kirsten felt that not having proper back-up was an issue. “Physically, it’s a demanding tournament. Last year, we didn’t have great back-up. But we do have some good combinations this year. It’s about getting our thinking process right.”
Asked why Zaheer Khan, who has not played for a year, was picked, Kirsten attributed the move to the pacer’s experience. “Experience is the one word. He would be working in a space with some good youngsters around. I want him to play a kind of mentoring role within the team. He obviously wants to keep playing and has some aspirations in his game.”
Kirsten reminded Zaheer knows he has to prove his worth. “He is aware that he needs to prove his worth. He has great experience and good ideas of T20 bowling. I am expecting that he will be fit for the first match,” said the former Proteas opener.
While Zaheer will be “mentoring”, Kirsten also batted for newly appointed bowling mentor Alfonso Thomas, who according to the coach will be there for two weeks. About the team’s multi-million dollar signing Yuvraj Singh, Kirsten was quick to point that he was the one who wanted him in the team. “I had a great experience working with Yuvraj in the Indian team. He is fit as he has ever been. For me, I really wanted him in this team as he is from this part of the world. I don’t think there is a guy more motivated than Yuvraj.”
The chief coach did not divulge how he would use an overworked Mohammed Shami but was hopeful that the Bengal speedster would carry his World Cup form into IPL. “We will keep it fairly to ourselves as to how we use him. I do agree you need to know the length you are bowling. I was excited with Shami’s bowling in the WC, knowing that he was in my team. He looks to take wickets, looks to swing and that’s very important,” he said.