CHENNAI: Kyle Abbott is one of the few pacers who changes technique and adjusts well to pitch conditions in shorter formats. His performance was perhaps the lone bright spot for South Africa in a disappointing WT20.
Playing a major tournament in India before the IPL has helped him experience conditions well in advance as he prepares for his debut season with Kings XI Punjab.
“WT20 was a great tournament. Though we lost, I was able to improve and analyse the factors that helps me strike more often in the shorter format. My first few T20s were experimental. When I started, I wanted to master slow balls and then combine yorkers, which made me recognised on the international stage,” said Abbott.
The bowler turning 29 in June is ready to give it all as he feels the need to perform after an uneventful stint with the now suspended Chennai franchise. Punjab, who lost the opening game against newbies Gujarat Lions, have to let go and concentrate on winning.
“It’s a long tournament and we have a long way to go. It’s unfortunate that we lost early, but the general mood around the team is positive and we can’t wait for our next game.”
Abbott, who faces stiff competition from Dale Steyn for a place in the national team, relishes the opportunity to learn from the legendary pacer. “Steyn is a fantastic person and a very good friend. Of course he is experienced and I get to learn a lot from him. Only if you come out of your comfort zone will you be able to perform better.”
It’s going to be likewise for Abbott in IPL, as he fights with Australian Mitchell Johnson for a spot in the XI. “He is a great professional and we have very good unity in the squad. All of us help each other and understand and respect the decisions of the coach. He knows who to play and we both will respect his decision if he picks me instead of him and vice versa.”
The bowler with a five-wicket Test haul in New Delhi feels RCB is the best side this season with debutants Pune who have a lot of former CSK stars and Abbott’s former teammates. “AB is an explosive batsman and one should be careful bowling to him. He hits sixes 360 degrees and has the ability to embarrass the best bowlers in the world.
“He is slightly better than Virat Kohli, who had an excellent WT20 and is a great batsman. But AB has that special something that can change any game in his favour.”
Virat has had exceptional matches against most international teams and the pacer feels execution will be the key. The man with 21 T20I caps ends on a proud note, explaining how he helped Steyn grasp a thing or two about slower balls.