IPL 2021: 'I would draft him first in my T20 team,' James Neesham's massive praise for Mumbai Indians all-rounder
- IPL 2021: James Neesham will pick Mumbai Indians' star all-rounder as his first pick in his T20 XI.
Jimmy Neesham is headed to Mumbai Indians for the IPL 2021 after the five-time champions picked up the New Zealand all-rounder for his base price or ₹50 lakh. Neesham, who has earlier represented Delhi Capitals in 2014 and Punjab Kings more recently last year, has heard talks of him being the 'back-up' all-rounder option in the presence of Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya and more importantly Kieron Pollard of West Indies as both are overseas players.
In a candid chat, Neesham says he doesn't mind that tag, praising Pollard for what he's achieved in the world of T20 cricket. Pollard has been a staple for Mumbai Indians since 2010, having scored over 3000 runs for the franchise with 15 half-centuries. Recently, he became just the third cricketer to smash six sixes in an over in international cricket, achieving the feat in a T20 against Sri Lanka. Neesham says Pollard would, in fact, be the first name in his list of T20 XI.
"There’s no shame in being a back up to Kieron Pollard. I think in the world of T20 cricket, I would draft him first if I have to make my own team. He’s an unbelievable hitter. I think we’ve seen that. He’s played some 500 T20s, a record that’s unbelievable," Neesham said on the Grade Cricketer Podcast.
Last season, Neesham played just five matches for Punjab Kings, scoring 19 runs and taking three wickets. This year too, Neesham understands that the opportunities might be limited, but is gearing to give his best shot in whatever chances he gets.
"I’m not grumpy as being described a back-up but I think it’s important in the IPL that you contribute any way you can even if you’re not on the playing field. I wouldn’t say that’s why I was picked up though. It doesn’t matter if you play one game, two games or 12, at the end of the day it’s about helping the team win," the New Zealand all-rounder added.