Kings XI Punjab pacer Mohammed Shami says Indian Premier League 2020 will set momentum for Australia tour


Dubai: The IPL is the right kind of tournament that allows players to get into the groove nicely, an absolute must before they hit the Australian shores for two and half months, feels Indian team’s premier speedster Mohammed Shami.

The Australia-bound India players will fly directly after the IPL concludes on November 10 for the much-anticipated tour which is likely to begin with a T20 series followed by four Tests and ODIs.

“It would be great that the Australia-bound players are playing IPL. It will set the body and momentum perfectly by then,” the Kings XI pace spearhead told PTI in an exclusive interaction.

India, under Virat Kohli, achieved the historic feat of winning in Australia for the first time in 2018-19 but the hosts did not have Steve Smith and David Warner back then because of their involvement in the ball tampering scandal.

The duo’s presence would make the series even more exciting and Shami said everyone is focused on the tour as well.

“I feel it’s better that we are playing IPL before a big series. Apart from IPL, everyone is also focused on that tour (Down Under). There is a lot of talk about that series. We will have a good contest.”

With the IPL shifted to the UAE, the tournament will be held across three venues of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, comprising 60 matches spread over 53 days. Shami feels unlike in India where they have to fly all over the country for away matches, the IPL in UAE would be less hectic this time.

“Yes, there’re back to back matches, training, travelling that’s a bit of headache. But it’s a short format, short matches, physically there should not be any workload issue. This time, there won’t be much travelling. You will have to travel just about two hours by bus (when there is a match in Abu Dhabi).”

This time, Kings XI have appointed Anil Kumble as the director of cricket operations as the former India head coach.

“I’ve a great bonding with him. It’s very important to have a good bonding with the coach, you can explain things clearly and it’s all about having a clear understanding.”

Asked about spin legend Shane Warne’s suggestion of giving a maximum five overs to a bowler in T20s instead of the current four, the veteran pacer didn’t endorse the idea.

“We are used to the current set of rules. I don’t think it will make any difference. The format is always heavily stacked up against the bowlers.”

KXIP have been perennial underachievers and barring two seasons — 2008 and 2014 — they have failed to make the playoffs and finished last thrice (2010, 2015 and 2016).

Shami however said that any team should discount KXIP at its own peril.

“You cannot underestimate any team in this format. It’s been our bad luck that we have not been able to lift the trophy yet. We had a great start last season. T20 format is all about execution. Our stroke of luck can change any moment.”

With the IPL being staged at a time when the country is in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Shami said it’s the cricketers responsibility to bring smiles back on the faces of fans.

“It feels great when people cheer us from the stadium, but in the current scenario when that is not possible, it’s our responsibility to cheer them up, people who are battling a difficult time. We can at least do that to our fans. For one season, we can play without the crowd, I don’t think there would be any issue.”

 

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