After a long break of three seasons from the cash-rich league, Munaf Patel talks to IndianExpress.com, and speaks about the confidence Gujarat Lions have shown in him, captaincy, Indian skipper Virat Kohli and much more. Excerpts:
How fit he feels for this season?
I am sure of my fitness, I’m 100 percent fit and ready to play. Chaiye to aap mere physiso se puch lo. (laughs). I’m very confident and confident of performing this season. I am looking forward to give my best to the game after the franchise showed their faith in me.
His opinion on Nathu Singh?
I have been seeing Nathu for over six months now. After watching him all this time, I can say that he has tremendous potential in him provided he continues to get opportunities. Bahut samay hai uske pass, aakhir kar ladka sirf 21 saal ka hai. He has hunger to learn and to excel. He has aspirations to learn and perform. Also has both pace and variations which can even win him a birth in Indian team in near future.
On Suresh Raina’s captaincy
Raina being captain must be expecting us to play and perform like an unit. I have known him since he started playing for India, and even before. He does have quality to keep the team in bonding. He has played under MS Dhoni for almost 9 years and that certainly has helped him in developing requisite skills to lead a team and also perform under pressure. I can say, if he gets going, bowlers will not find it easy to hold him. He is someone who is always open for advice from others, whether a senior or a youngster.
On Ravindra Jadeja’s replacement
Beyond doubts Jadu plays a very important role, he is currently the best all-rounder in the world. It won’t be easy to fill his gap. However, Shadab Jakati is expected to do his best in Jadeja’s absence. Jadeja and Jakati having played together for CSK, I get the feeling that Jakati is equipped very well too. For now, he will miss first two matches only, and I believe our side is strong enough that we don’t rely on an individual.
On Virat Kohli and his aggression
He is an emotional player and now a senior too, by now he should know how to control his emotions and aggression. Being a captain and a senior player, he is showing a little more aggression lately. Earlier, as he played under the likes Dhoni, Anil Kumble, (Rahul) Dravid bhai and Virender Sehwag, the he never needed to show this kind aggression. That time it was just his batting, which showed aggression. Eventually it has helped other players, who are more or less of the same age and group, to perform. I think during Mahi’s captaincy so much of aggression was not need of the hour. Infact we ( teammates) use to be more calm and relieved, on and off-field both.
Both Umesh and Bhuvneshwar seem to be in good rhythm. The two have been bowling tremendously well. It is good to see them maintain consistency and maintaining pace along with swing. This, in my opinion, is the best lot India has ever had recently. Good performance from the two bowlers can be expected beyond doubts. Their combination can pay good dividends. Also not to forget we (Mohammed) Shami too.
Is Kohli’s aggression affecting other players’ game?
No..not really, I don’t think that way. Every player has his style and attitude towards the game. If we look at Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane , they put in their best and do not indulge in any kind of fight. Every player knows how to handle the situation and they do it in their way. So it is something entirely up to the individual player, and his approach towards the game. Instead Kohli’s aggression is likely to be helpful for them to grow. Seeing the captain putting extra efforts, players follow the suit and put in their best.