Kolkata Knight Riders pace bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile’s match-winning haul against Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League on Monday ended a frustrating phase in the Australian bowler’s career.
Once hailed as a great prospect by Shane Warne, Coulter-Nile had been laid low by injury after waiting in the wings for the national team.
However, he was a delighted man after claiming 3/22, which pegged back Delhi Daredevils and carried KKR to a thrilling win at the Feroz Shah Kotla.
“Getting back was tough and I just had to focus on my role. I had been out of the game for a long time. I would say these were the hard years of my life,” Coulter-Nile told a news conference after being named the Man-of-the-Match.
“I’m grateful to be playing cricket again and contributing to a win in the first game is worth it all in the end,” he added.
Coulter-Nile’s island of turmoil
Last August, Coulter-Nile was part of the Australia squad in Sri Lanka. The visiting side had a horrid time and the bowler was benched during the entire tour. He picked up a stress fracture immediately after returning from Sri Lanka and missed the Big Bash League as well as domestic cricket. He only recovered ahead of IPL 2017.
In the IPL last year, Coulter-Nile played four games for Delhi Daredevils and took three wickets, and the franchise released him.
However, Kolkata Knight Riders bought him for Rs 3.5cr and Coulter-Nile was waiting for his turn as New Zealand left-arm pacer, Trent Boult, was given the first opportunity.
After Boult proved expensive in the initial games, skipper Gautam Gambhir gave Coulter-Nile a go on a bouncy track at the Feroz Shah Kotla. And in his first game for KKR, and against his old franchise, he made Gambhir proud.
Effective T20 bowler
Coulter-Nile, known for his variations that make him a very effective T20 bowler, executed his plans really well, especially against the dangerous Rishabh Pant. After conceding a six off the first ball of his last over against Pant, Coulter-Nile came back by having the youngster caught at point.
Pant had made Umesh Yadav’s life hell on Monday by hitting him for 26 in his last over. He went for 53 runs.
“I don’t think Umesh went wrong as he had his plans, (but) unfortunately didn’t execute as the batsmen got away. As far as my plans go on this wicket, I planned to bowl slower balls and was aiming wider against Pant. I was really keeping him guessing,” said Coulter-Nile.