Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) bowling coach Kyle Mills has been mentally preparing his team’s young pacers, the likes of Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi and Prashidh Krishna, to relish the challenge of bowling against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) skipper and arguably the world’s best batsman, Virat Kohli.
Before the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in UAE, starting September 19, Mills, the former New Zealand pacer, said his advice to KKR’s young fast bowlers has been to embrace and not feel intimidated about bowling to Kohli.
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“Embrace the challenge of playing against Virat Kohli, that would be the message from me to young guys like Nagarkoti and Mavi in the group,” said Mills in an interview with ANI. “Kohli is the best cricketer in the world, he is amazing to watch. He certainly leads by example off the park as well. For our young bowlers, they can make a statement.”
“Young cricketers who are on the rise, they have a great opportunity to make a statement, if they embrace the challenge and don’t run away from it, this would be fascinating to watch over the course of the next eight weeks.”
Apart from the youngsters, Knight Riders also have quality and experienced Indian and overseas bowling options such as Pat Cummins, Lockie Ferguson, Kuldeep Yadav, Chris Green, Sunil Narine and Andre Russell. Mills said his job is to help them through the journey.
“We are going to come up against some really good players in this tournament. You have got the likes of ABD, Warner. The message that we will give to our players is that you wouldn’t be here if you weren’t a good player. You are selected for KKR because you deserve to be here.”
“You don’t have to change much when you come up against big players, when you try to be someone else, then you can witness failure. You just need to trust your abilities. That will be the message from me to all the players in the side,” he said.
Mills also talked about how life’s been within bio-secure arrangements amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“First of all for me personally, I am loving being back involved in a team, that’s what I miss about playing cricket, I have been out for the game for five years and now I am involved in a team setup where we all are trying to achieve something, it is really exciting for me.”
“These are different times, anytime you find an Indian cricketer who hasn’t played the game for six months, it clearly gives an indication that we are living in different times. We all are coming from different parts of the globe and we have been affected by this pandemic differently.”
“It is fascinating to hear about the stories from everyone as to how they are coping with the COVID-19, but with this preparation for a tournament, there is a lot at stake, we have had more preparation than a normal IPL so it’s nice,” he signed off.
Kolkata Knight Riders start off their campaign on September 23 in Abu Dhabi against defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI).