Mohammad Abdullah, Staff Reporter
KKR players during a practice game in Abu Dhabi ahead of the IPL. Courtesy Twitter
An upbeat New Zealand pacer Lockie Ferguson is looking forward to bowling with Australian quick Pat Cummins at the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL), which begins on Sept.19.
Commenting on the prospect of bowling in tandem with the Aussie, who will be joining the team soon after their series in England, Ferguson said: “We are surely going to have some pace-off with each other. We are always nice to the guy who can bowl at 150kmph. Look, Pat is an exceptional bowler, there is no secret about that.
“He has been winning either the bowler or the player of the year award internationally almost every year. He seems to be getting better and better and he is still so young. He is a lovely guy and I am thoroughly looking forward to rubbing shoulders with him.”
Ferguson joined the team for the training for the first time since arriving in the UAE after completing a mandatory quarantine period of six days.
Ferguson is one of the most ferocious fast bowlers in the cricketing world and with Cummins, can make a lethal combo, specially bowling in tandem in the death overs. He constantly touches the 150km/hr mark, which can bother any batsman around the world.
“My brother was a very fast bowler. He is four years older than me. Growing up and playing alongside him, I realised he was much faster and stronger than me. I guess I just wanted to be better than him pretty much most of my life.
“But I guess, as you grow up you realise you have skills in certain areas. I always loved playing sports. I think I didn’t know that I would be putting out such speeds until I came onboard with New Zealand,” he added.
Ferguson is looking forward to leaving an indelible impression on the IPL in his second season with the franchise, while giving his best for the team in their third title push for the prestigious event.
“I am super excited. KKR took me in with open arms and made me feel as a part of the family as soon as I joined them in the last season. I made some real good friends there.
“I am very upbeat and excited ahead of the second season with the franchise. I think Purple and Gold doesn’t look bad on me at all. KKR is looking super strong. We ended up sort of mid-table last year, so hopefully, this year we will get a chance to improve on that performance,” he stressed.
He also elaborated how he developed this proximity with the team. And how Brendon McCullum inspired him to play for KKR.
“We used to watch IPL as young chaps. Brendon was definitely one of our heroes while growing up. After watching him do so well in the first match for KKR in the inaugural season in 2008, it was hard not to be a KKR fan,” he explained.
McCullum played a stellar innings in the opening match of the IPL, which set the tone for the rest of the season. He scored a blitzkrieg unbeaten 158 against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).
Ferguson had a memorable World Cup, where he hogged the limelight with a stellar performance in the tournament, helping his team in their run-up to the maiden showdown of the showpiece event.
“It was fantastic. It is really hard to put feelings into words. It was a long tournament, but also it went by so quickly.
“I came straight from India (IPL) and went into the World Cup, which threw me into completely different conditions. It was exciting. I think with the Black Caps side, I was more or less trying to own the first change bowler role.
“We had such amazing opening bowlers and there was a stiff competition for the spot of a pacer in the team. But, I felt my pace and bounce would better serve at the first change. Luckily, I fitted well in their plan of things.
“So, going into the World Cup, all I wanted was to put my best foot forward and be a part of the starting 11. I picked up a few wickets but I think I was just lucky enough to get the rewards of the hard work that our opening bowlers were putting in.
“The way we stuck together till the end was really commendable. We played really well and also conducted well both on and off the field. I think this was the best time I have ever had playing cricket for an extended period of time,” he said, reminiscing about the cricket spectacle.
New Zealand had a commendable campaign at the World Cup, wherein they lost to England in the final by the virtue of a boundary count after the match ended and Super Over ended in a tie.
Meanwhile, Andre Russell joined the team in Abu Dhabi. Russell has been with the KKR for many seasons.