Kolkata Knight Riders' pacer Laxmipathy Balaji credited bowling coach Wasim Akram for his resurgence, saying the iconic ex-Pakistan captain is passing all his tricks of the trade to him.
Balaji took an impressive three for 15 against Rajasthan Royals here last night to help Knight Riders bundle out the visitors for a paltry 81 in 15.2 overs after being sent into bat. "We all know what is he (Akram) capable of. Definitely it's an education for each and every member of the team. We all are learning every bit of what he does.
Like how to attack and all. All these things are very important for a bowler. The next generation of players will gain a lot (from him)," Balaji said of Akram after KKR's eight-wicket triumph.
With this win, the Knight Riders completed their second victory over Rajasthan in a period of three days to climb to the top of the IPL standings. "It's a process.
It's not over yet. We have still 10 more matches to go. It has to be planned like a ladder. We have to have a rhythm to go into the next level," the lanky pacer insisted. Balaji gave the first breakthrough to the Knight Riders, cleaning up in-form Shane Watson with a classic outswinger and the former India seamer said it was a dream ball.
"It was a really good ball, something that I used to bowl some seven eight years ago. It was really thrilling to see the batsmen beaten. I would like to bowl similar bowls again and again," he said. "Watson was a very important wicket. We needed the wicket very badly in the first six overs.
His breakthrough gave me immense pleasure." Balaji added. Balaji said the Eden Gardens wicket was on the slower side. "It was a little bit on the slower side. But you can't help conditions. Our batsmen really applied themselves well. (Gautam) Gambhir, (Manoj) Tiwary and (Manvinder) Bisla played sensibly," he said. "There is a long way to go. We will just take it match by match. We got to have a relaxed mind.
We have got a good initiative," Balaji said about their approach for the upcoming matches in the tournament. Asked whether Knight Riders performances in the previous seasons affected the team in any way, Balaji said, "It's a completely new team with a new captain. We all get together very well and play as unit. It's a new season, whatever happened in the past is history."