Sunrisers Hyderabad got a massive blow even before the commencement of the 11th edition of the IPL when they lost their captain David Warner after he was found guilty in the ball-tampering scandal. David Warner was central to Hyderabad’s triumph in 2016 IPL. It was a double whammy for them as they not only lost their captain but also their best batsman.
Kane Williamson, who was not even a regular starter in the Hyderabad side was handed over the reigns. He had big boots to fill. And the Kiwi player, not only shone through as captain by taking SRH to the finals but also ended the season as highest run-getter to stamp his authority.
“A great leader is who, takes the team to greater heights in difficult times, and Kane Williamson has that capability, and that’s why we reached the finals as well. There were a lot of close games, and it’s not easy to take tight decisions but he handled the team really well,” Yusuf Pathan told Cricket Today when asked about captaincy of Kane Williamson.
“Kane is very calm, reads situations well, and has a positive attitude towards teammates, and that’s’ why he is the captain. It was not easy to captain the team for the first time and take them through to the finals that too in absence of David Warner. With a cool and calm head, he handled the team, and scored lots of runs to take the team through to finals,” added Pathan, who played for SRH in 2018 for the first time.
Before Kane Williamson, Pathan had also played under the likes of Shane Warne and Gautam Gambhir while representing Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders respectively. He not only played under them but also won IPL with them. Both Warne and Gambhir are known as astute tacticians of the game. Pathan shed light on captaincy styles of both Shane Warne and Gautam Gambhir.
He said, “Shane Warne is very positive, be it as a person or a cricketer.” Notably, Shane Warne had taken four wickets in semi-finals of both the 1996 and 1999 World Cup. The leggie had also bagged four wickets in the 1999 World Cup final. Warne was a big-match player. And Yusuf learned a great technique of success from him. “Warne taught me how to visualize well before games. I learned how to visualize keeping in mind the strong and weak points of the opposition players,” asserted Pathan.
“As far as Gautam Gambhir is concerned, he is a very aggressive cricketer and steps on to the field with a lot of positivity and fire,” revealed Pathan.
The elder Pathan brother might be 36 years old, but he still has the fire and belief that he can win games for his side. He is someone, who can take the game by storm. His aggressive batting and audacious strokeplay have won his teams’ many games, over the years. The right-hander intends to do the same this year.
Pathan announced, “I have this tag of being a match-winner and my role is to play aggressively. My approach is to win matches for my team. Inshallah, till the time I keep playing cricket, I would love to keep playing aggressively. He added an interesting point, “A lot of times in order to curb my aggressive instinct, the opposition think too much about me and as a result, my partners get the benefit and they go on to score runs.”
Pathan also relishes the fact that he gets the license to play his natural game at Hyderabad. He shared his experience of playing under legends like VVS Laxman and Muttiah Muralitharan. “VVS bhai is always like when you go out to bat and start doing well, opposition team panics. So when a legend like Laxman says things like that it feels good. He appreciates my talent and approach.”
He also disclosed how much fun it is to be around Muttiah Muralitharan. “Murali is a very fun loving person, he keeps having a lot of fun banter with me, and I enjoy playing with him around the team. I have played against him as well, and its a very good experience playing under such a bonafide legend of the game,” said Pathan.
Yusuf Pathan was part of India’s 2007 WT20 and 2011 World Cup winning side. He didn’t have the most fulfilling career in the Indian jersey but some of his knocks have stood up to the test of time. “There are a lot of innings that I have forgotten, but when fans talk about those innings, which I have played for India, it feels special. And all the wonderful memories get freshen up in my mind,” asserted Pathan.
He has played some brilliant knocks for India. Be it his 96-ball 123 against New Zealand in 2010, where India chased down 316 runs after being 108 for four or his 50-ball 59 in Cape Town against South Africa (2011) were the Men in Blue won a thriller after being 93 for five, or his 70-ball 105 in Centurion against the Proteas in a losing cause, where no other Indian batsman could even touch 40, Yusuf had his share of moments at the highest level.
“It has always been my approach, which helped me play innings like these, I cherish difficult situations and it helped me give my best. Whenever I sit down and reflect on those innings it feels special”, gushed Pathan taking a walk back to nostalgia.
But as he got back from nostalgia to the present moment, he looked all fired up to put his best foot forward in the IPL. “My preparations for IPL are going very good, I am having a good time in Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy, practice is going well and I have more time for individually fine-tuning myself before our camp starts,” stated Pathan.
He signed off by saying or rather announcing, “There are a lot of matches to come and Inshallah, I will play many more memorable knocks in times to come for my team.”
*The Interview was taken by Harshit Anand.
This is part 2 of our Interview, here is part 1: