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Strategy was just to hit the ball hard: Yusuf

Calcutta: Yusuf Pathan doesn’t remember what he ate for lunch on Saturday, but he did remember what captain Gautam Gambhir had told him at the innings break.

Yusuf didn’t want to disappoint his captain. He didn’t, playing a mind-blowing innings that helped the Kolkata Knight Riders beat the Chennai Super Kings in the race to finish second on the points table.

At the post-match media conference, Yusuf took a dig at his critics saying only he knows the amount of hard work he puts in to be successful and so he ignores whatever negative is said about him.

Excerpts

On what he ate for lunch

I ate two-three things… But I can’t remember what they were.

On his strategy

There was nothing much going on in my mind… The strategy was just to hit the ball hard and clear the boundaries… We needed to score around 12-15 runs per over to win the match within 15.2 overs and finish second. We had nothing to lose and I just tried to hit as many boundaries as I can in an over and take the game forward.

On his approach

If I would have got out off the first ball, you would have criticised me. When I went out to bat, I just thought that if we finish second in the table, we would get two chances to make to the final. Even if we lose in Qualifier 1, we would get another chance to make the final. So I wanted to give my team that chance.

I batted freely. There was no pressure on me. We had already qualified for the play-offs… So even if I got out while hitting, it wouldn’t matter.

After we were set a difficult target, our captain, (Gautam) Gambhir, wanted us to have a crack at it… I didn’t want to disappoint him.

On what clicked for him

That I batted at No.4 and got to bat for a long time. I think that helped me in my batting.

On being the subject of criticism for a long time

Look, I know what is said about me. But people who criticise don’t know how hard I work for my game, how hard I try to achieve my goals. I know how many runs I can score in an over, and so I don’t bother about the criticisms. I work extremely hard during the off-season to get my game right. I’m someone who does his homework before the exams, so I know what I’m dealing with. My job is to play, I’m paid for it. I concentrate only on that.

On who he would like to dedicate his innings

Well, it’s dedicated to all the fans, to my mom and dad, to all KKR fans and well-wishers… We have played well this season, and I hope we can continue doing that.

On missing Shah Rukh Khan in the stands

I feel very sad that he was not here. But then, he is busy with his work. Obviously, he’s following the matches on television and we know that his best wishes are with us. He must be happy with our performance… And we don’t want to disappoint him. God willing, he’ll come for the final (if we can make it).