IPL: Hoping for Curran to play big role: KKR coach Kallis

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Kolkata, April 6 (IANS) Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) head coach and legendary South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis on Friday hoped Mitchell Starc’s replacement, England’s Tom Curran, will “play a big role” for them as they get ready to take on Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on Sunday.

Surrey fast bowler Curran signed up for KKR after Starc was recently ruled out with injured right shin.

“Unfortunately Starc got injured but we have got replacement in Curran. We look forward to some exciting stuff from Tom. (He) should stand up and play a big role in absence of Mitchell,” Kallis told reporters two days ahead of KKR’s opening game at the Eden Gardens.

Curran might not possess express pace like Starc who is rated as one of the world’s best pacers, but has skills which include a deceptive, back-of-the-hand slower ball, and a superb yorker.

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Recently, the 23-year old picked up a maiden five-wicket haul in a thrilling ODI against Australia at the new Perth Stadium in January.

RCB had succumbed to a 82-run defeat at the hands of KKR here last year, getting skittled out for IPL’s lowest score of 49 in reply to KKR’s 131 all out. All the wickets were taken by the fast bowlers of the purple brigade.

Asked if that big-margin victory would be a morale booster, Kallis said: “Hopefully it (the big-margin win) does happen again for us.

“But we will have to see and have our plans in place. We will hope to execute them in the night with bat and ball.”

RCB will once again start as favourites with the likes AB De Villiers, Chris Woakes — who took three wickets for KKR in that match against RCB at the Eden — Yuzvendra Chahal and Brendon McCullum among the star players in their ranks.

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Kallis though refused to echo his batting coach Simon Katich who had said on Thursday that the hosts will start as underdogs.

“I think everybody starts as underdogs, everyone’s a little bit nervous and first game of the tournament so new teams..some new strategies ..everybody will try to feel eachother out. The teams that get stuck in early on that’ll start the tournament well,” Kallis said.

Captain Dinesh Karthik, who recently smashed an unbeaten eight-ball 29 to help India beat Bangladesh in the final of the tri-series in Sri Lanka, is likely to bat in the middle order, Kallis said.

“We won’t have a set plan we will come up with different strategies for different situations and be flexible in our batting order.

“But at the moment, he would probably bat in the middle order.”

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Kallis further added that wrist spin always plays a crucial role in this format and the likes of Kuleep Yadav and Piyush Chawla are there to play an important role for the Shah Rukh Khan co-owned franchise.

“Wrist spinners play a big role in this format. A mystery bowl is slightly difficult to pick than the conventional players. We have got a couple, we are looking forward to some exciting time.”

On Kohli, Kallis said it would be naive to plan for only one player.

“We got plans for all the batters. One batter does n’t make a team. When you fall into the trap of one batter then you are focusing on wrong things, you need to focus on all the batters.”

RCB players also sweated it out in the middle without Kohli, De Villiers and Quinton De Kock.

–IANS

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