Mumbai: Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) all-rounder Yusuf Pathan didn’t earn a call-up in the national team for the limited-overs series in Zimbabwe despite three half-centuries in the ongoing season of the IPL; but that doesn’t stop him from believing in success as KKR entered the play-offs with panache and grit.
Pathan, one of the trump cards of skipper Gautam Gambhir, remained unbeaten on 52 off 34 balls against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) on Sunday. Both the teams will meet for the third time, in the play-offs, in New Delhi on Wednesday.
The pinch-hitter is no more the risky, slipshod batter in the middle. The 33-year-old remained unbeaten on all three occasions he slammed fifties.
“I am getting to bat at different positions, getting good time to settle down and overs to express myself. My mindset is clear and that’s why I feel I am in control,” said Pathan, on the eve of the play-off fixture.
Though KKR overcame SRH twice in the league stage, the team is not complacent.
“What we have done before, good or bad, we don’t want to remember. Our aim is to take our game three steps ahead, we cannot afford to make mistakes at this stage,” he added.
The right-handed batsman has been instrumental in stitching sublime partnerships in the tournament; Shakib Al Hasan and Pathan amassed 134 runs for the fifth wicket against Gujarat Lions. During Sunday’s do-or-die rubber, he added 87 runs for the fourth wicket with Manish Pandey.
“It has been few years with the team and that helps. We are well-acquainted. Every player has a different mindset and we talk accordingly. Manish and I were talking about opportunities, how to convert the loose balls into boundaries,” added Pathan, who scored 359 runs in 14 matches this season.
The Baroda cricketer believes much of KKR’s accomplishment is due to skipper Gambhir.
“He has his own style of leading the team. He improved his batting and provides a great start upfront, that’s the mark of a good captain. He has been taking good decisions and inspiring others to play good cricket,” said Pathan.
There is no clarity on all-rounder Andre Russell’s availability but Pathan pointed that the team is capable of playing good cricket in his absence. The West Indies World Cup winner injured his hamstring against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
“He is no doubt a big player, a match winner. Now only he can say what is he feeling and whether he is match fit. The physiotherapists are working hard. It is difficult to take a call right now, it could be decided even before the match,” said Pathan, whose first IPL triumph came with Rajasthan Royals in 2008.
Talking about being overlooked by the Indian selectors, he said: “My fans wanted me there, but there is no point brooding over something that has not happened. There is still a lot of cricket to go, more chances will come. I want to do my bit. I have the well-wishers praying for me. I want to play cricket like I always have, compete and wait for the next series in India colours.”