All-round Nitish value addition to rampaging SRH

Freedom with responsibility has helped Sunrisers Hyderabad bat well, says Andhra cricketer
Nitish Kumar Reddy has shown his ability with the willow this season
Nitish Kumar Reddy has shown his ability with the willow this season(Photo | AP)

CHENNAI: Andhra's Nitish Kumar Reddy is one of the finds for Sunrisers Hyderabad this IPL season. A fast bowling all-rounder for his state, Nitish has been giving a good account of himself with both bat and ball for the franchise. His cameos with the bat and ability to take a couple of wickets at crucial junctures have helped the Pat Cummins-led side win matches.

The then chairman of the national junior selection committee Aashish Kapoor was all praise for the youngster while talking to this daily in 2020. Although he played a couple of games in the last edition, he did not get to bat. This year Nitish is making the best use of the opportunities he has been getting with both bat and ball. His half-century against Punjab Kings at the Maharaja Yadavindra Singh International Cricket Stadium in Mullanpur set up the game for Hyderabad and since then he has been contributing in almost every match for his side.

''It feels really good to be contributing to the team's cause. I am happier when the team wins,'' said Nitish in an exclusive chat with this daily.
Everyone knows about Nitish the bowler, but his prowess with the willow has surprised many. ''I can bat and bowl in equal measure. Before also I used to be a good batter, but I didn't get the chance to prove myself. Now I am getting a chance, maybe that's why I'm proving my worth as a batter,'' said the shy youngster.

''Aashish sir had told me to learn to bat at No 5 and No 6. He told me I needed to adapt and gain experience batting in the middle order if I wish to play at a higher level. I worked on that with my coach CD Thomson,'' added Nitish.

Last year SRH had a forgettable season but they look a formidable unit this season under the new captain Pat Cummins. Given their show so far, the team is expected to make it to playoffs which in turn can put pressure on the players. ''I enjoy playing under pressure. It propels me to give my best.

Last year I got to play two games, but I did not get a chance to bat. Since I got a chance to bowl people thought that I was only a bowler. After that I felt like, let's wait for a chance to bat and perform when I get one. So this year I got a good chance to bat and I didn't want to waste the opportunity. And I was like, now you can see how it (batting) is going.'' revealed the lanky all-rounder.

Playing along with one of the best bowlers in the world like Cummins can be a rewarding experience for a young lad. ''He (Cummins) is one of the best bowlers in the world. I learnt from him how to keep things simple. He's not a guy who thinks a lot. He just works on his routines and all that. He asks us to to bowl according to wickets, and conditions and not worry too much about the batter. In other words, he wants us to have self-belief in our abilities,'' said Nitish.

Cummins has been leading by example which is one of the reasons why SRH have made a remarkable turnaround from the previous seasons. ''He's cool, so calm. And he just wants to make sure that everyone is in a good frame of mind. He ensures that everyone is cool and not in any undue pressure. He wants us to enjoy and express ourselves,'' revealed Nitish.
So has Nitish made any adjustments to his batting this season? ''I go with a calm mind, I just think about the process and the situation. I want to bat effectively. So I have changed my practice routines where I get to practice everything, including power hitting. Yes, I have also been working on the downswing in my batting. So the idea is to bat as per the situation and the need of the team, not just whack a couple of boundaries and get out,'' he insisted.

Finally the secret behind Hyderabad's ability to post big totals regularly. ''Freedom and the license to play as one wants. We have the freedom to express ourselves, but at the same time, we also have been cautioned to play responsibly when a couple of wickets are down. Freedom with responsibility has helped us bat well,'' signed off Nitish.

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