Batting may have been their strength this season, but Kings XI Punjab skipper George Bailey heaped praise on his young crop of bowlers who have helped the team to emerge on top of the points table.
With rookie leg-spinner Karanveer Singh returning impressive figures of 4-0-16-2 and KXIP going on to win comfortably against Rajasthan Royals here on Friday, Bailey gave the young talent a thumbs up.
“Yeah, absolutely. Karanveer bowled beautifully..” Bailey said speaking to reporters after the match.
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When asked if the team sees a greater role for Karanveer in the play-offs, the KXIP’s Australian import said, “That’s why he is playing. We are playing him because we think he has a role to play.”
He also had words of praise for his other young domestic players.
“We have been very lucky. Sandeep (Sharma) has done very well, Akshar at the start of the tournament, Manan (Vohra) has come in and performed outstanding well. Karanveer has done it on Friday. Really proud of that and really proud of that we can provide them an environment where these guys come and play and perform,” he said.
Bailey, 31, also defended Beuran Hendricks, KXIP bowler and South African import, who remained wicketless against Rajasthan giving away 57 runs.
“He was a little unlucky, but his skills are definitely outstanding,” he pointed out.
When asked why star performer Glenn Maxwell had been left out, Bailey said “He wanted to play, everyone in the squad wants to play, no doubt about that. We are resting him, he has got some big games coming up, nice to freshen him up and he will be ready and raring to go.”
Asked if the team, which has ten wins from thirteen outings and faces bottom-ranked Delhi Daredevils in their final league encounter here on Sunday, had figured out who will be their playing XI for the play-offs, Bailey said, “No, not at all. We will go out there and see the conditions who we are playing and what sort of wicket it will be”.
When asked if he will test the bench strength in Sunday’s game, Bailey said, “I am not sure, we will talk to (coach) Sanjay (Bangar) and (bowling coach) Joe (Dawes) and (fielding coach) Sridhar and assess the things… we will see
what the wicket is like and all those things.”
Meanwhile, Karanveer, who got the wickets of Sanju Samson and Stuart Binny, said he was just trying to stick on the basics while bowling.
“I wanted to bowl on my strength, which is to turn the ball. I just kept it simple,” he said.
Asked how did he keep match-fit as before coming in to this match he had spend lot of time on the bench, he said, “Well, I have been training, I have been bowling a lot. I really want to thank my support staff, my bowling coach, my fielding coach and everyone else. They have helped me in every phase of the tournament.”
“It is really hard to sit out and suddenly come and play, but they have supported me very well. I also gave my 100 per cent,” he added.
When asked that the spotlight had somewhat shifted to young domestic players in KXIP who are performing quite well and contributing to the team’s victory, Karanveer said, “It’s a great feeling that domestic players are doing very well. Obviously, when the team is doing very well, it is doing so when both the Indian and foreign players are gelling well and giving their best, it is a wonderful feeling for the team.”
Meanwhile, Bailey said that it was good to see leg spinners coming and performing in this format of the game.
“Leg spin, it’s a beautiful art, some were saying that it is a dying art, but T20s may be bringing it to the forefront because it’s such aggressive type of bowling, it’s a wicket-taking form of bowling. We are seeing leg-spinners take wickets, particularly through the middle of the overs and there a lot of games are won or lost.”