Nitish Rana celebrates a wicket with his KKR captain Dinesh Karthik(Getty Images)
Nitish Rana celebrates a wicket with his KKR captain Dinesh Karthik(Getty Images)

Hope I get more overs: Nitish Rana hopes to turn into an off-spinning all-rounder for KKR in IPL 2020

IPL 2020: It shouldn’t be a surprise if Nitish Rana pulls out some trickeries from his hat during this edition and gives a hard time to batsmen on the surfaces of the UAE that are known to assist spinners
By Aritra Mukherjee | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON SEP 18, 2020 08:52 AM IST

Carrom ball and yorker – two of the most effective but difficult deliveries – take a lot of practice and precision even for seasoned finger spinners to finally have the confidence of using them in match situation. Left-handed batsman Nitish Rana had not only executed them perfectly against AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli but had even dismissed them with the same to turn the match towards Kolkata Knight Riders a couple of seasons ago in the IPL.

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It shouldn’t be a surprise if Rana pulls out similar trickeries from his hat during this edition and gives a hard time to a lot of batsmen on the UAE pitches which are known to assist spinners, at least that’s what the KKR left-hander wants us to believe.

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“It’s good that spinners will get an advantage here so that I also will get some grip. I’ve improved as a player and a bowler. Hope I get more overs and help the team,” Rana said while responding to a Hindustan Times’ question during a virtual media interaction on Thursday.

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Those who have followed Rana’s journey in domestic cricket, are aware of his exploits as an off-spinner. The hard-hitting left-hander, who has been one of the mainstays of the Delhi batting line-up in the last few domestic seasons, has rolled his arms over whenever he has got an opportunity… with a fair amount of success at that.

“Bowling is not a new thing for me. I’ve been bowling in domestic cricket,” Rana said. He, in fact, has an impressive economy rate of 6.98 after bowling in 39 T20s innings. In List A cricket, his economy dips to 4.52 with 31 wickets to show.

With Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav being the only renowned spinners – KKR do have Australia’s Chris Green and uncapped Varun Chakravarthy in their side but chances of them making to the first XI are slim – in the KKR squad, Rana’s off-spinners can come in handy and give Dinesh Karthik a valuable option on dry Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi pitches, especially in the second half of the tournament.

Rana’s primary role, however, will be to bat at the top of the order and lay the foundation for the likes of Eoin Morgan, Karthik and Andre Russell, which he has been doing to perfection in the last two seasons.

“I will bat as per team demand. I don’t have a fixed batting slot. I’m available to serve the team at any spot,” said Rana, who has mostly batted at either No. 3 or 4 for KKR in the last two IPLs, crossing 300-plus in both seasons.

The left-hander who is known for his big-hitting abilities expressed his desires of learning from England captain Morgan who has made a return to the franchise after being picked up in the auction for 5.25 crores.

“I hope I also have that sort of leadership quality so that it helps in my domestic team and I grow as a player,” Rana said. “He is one such rare left-handed batsman who dominates white-ball cricket. He’s a World Cup-winning captain of a successful country. I’m looking forward to learning many things from him.”

KKR star their IPL 2020 campaign against defending champions Mumbai Indians on September 23 in Abu Dhabi.

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