Tait sweats it out as Knight Riders mull pace option against Sunrisers
Aussie quick Shaun Tait was the man in focus at the Ferozeshah Kotla as Kolkata Knight Riders plots to tame Sunrisers Hyderabad.Updated: May 25, 2016 10:44 IST
If team practice sessions are anything to go by, Kolkata Knight Riders seemed keen to strengthen their pace attack for Wednesday’s Eliminator against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
With half the team absent due to disruption in their flight, Aussie quick Shaun Tait was the man in focus at the Ferozeshah Kotla. Since his Test and ODI retirement in 2012, Tait has been a globetrotter playing the T20 leagues.
In February, he turned out for Peshawar Zalmi in the Pakistan Super League, picking up 10 wickets in nine matches. It is not that Kolkata don’t have quality pacers, but going by their recent picks, only Ankit Rajpoot and Morne Morkel have been regulars. Andre Russell, who has 15 wickets, is recovering from a leg injury and is still not sure of playing.
Umesh Yadav has played regularly but has proved expensive, which could have forced KKR skipper, Gautam Gambhir, also the Delhi Ranji captain, to think beyond him to tackle his ‘home’ conditions.
Tait hasn’t played any game but if Russell is unfit, he could play. Gambhit has employed the horses-for-courses policy which has worked very well for KKR, although spinners were the go-to men at Eden Gardens.
Tait bowled fast at the nets and bowling mentor Wasim Akram was seen helping him.
Spin vs pace?
The match will be a repeat clash after KKR defeated Hyderabad in their last league game at home. Gambhir had fielded five spinners besides medium-pacers Jason Holder and Colin Munro.
Gambhir would be wary returning to Kotla, having lost here to Delhi Daredevils. In that game, Umesh Yadav and Russell took three wickets apiece but the Indian spearhead went for over 10 runs an over.
Although Tait could still bowl at express pace, it will still be gamble. However, if it works and Tait gets the initial wickets, it would be advantage the twice former champions.
Hyderabad though will fancy their pace attack despite Ashish Nehra’s injury. And skipper David Warner getting far better support from opening partner, Shikhar Dhawan, things could balance out.