Nitish Rana, the left-handed batsman of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) executed the Carrom ball and yorker perfectly against RCB batsmen; AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli and even dismissed them with the same to turn the match towards KKR a couple of seasons ago in the cash-rich IPL.
The two deliveries are most effective but difficult to bowl — and take a lot of practice and precision even for seasoned finger spinners to finally have the confidence of using them in a match situation.
Nitish Rana has scored 1,085 runs from 46 IPL matches averaging 29.32 besides picking up seven wickets averaging 17. He had a decent outing in the 2019 edition of the IPL with 344 runs from 14 matches at a strike rate of 146.38. He had scored more than 300 runs in each of the last three seasons.
Nitish Rana Says He Has Improved As Spinner And Will Try To Get Advantage In UAE
It should not be a surprise if Nitish Rana pulls out similar trickery from his hat during this edition and gives a hard time to a lot of premier batsmen on the turning UAE pitches which assist spinners.
“It’s good that spinners will get an advantage here so that I also will get some grip. I’ve improved as a player and a bowler. Hope I get more overs and help the team,” Rana said while responding to a Hindustan Times’ question during a virtual media interaction on Thursday.
Those who have followed his journey in domestic cricket, are aware of his exploits as an off-spinner. The hard-hitting left-hander, who has been one of the mainstays of the Delhi batting line-up in the last few domestic seasons, has rolled his arms over whenever he has got an opportunity with a fair amount of success at that.
“Bowling is not a new thing for me. I’ve been bowling in domestic cricket,” Rana said.
He, in fact, has an impressive economy rate of 6.98 after bowling in 39 T20s innings. In List A cricket, his economy dips to 4.52 with 31 wickets to show. Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav are the only renowned spinners in KKR squad which also have Australia’s Chris Green and uncapped Varun Chakravarthy in their side.
However chances of them making it to the first XI are less, so Nitish Rana’s off-spin bowling can come in handy and give Dinesh Karthik a valuable option on dry Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi pitches, especially in the second half of the tournament.
Nitish Rana Will Primarily Bat At Top Of Batting Order And Lay Foundation
Nitish Rana’s primary role, however, will be to bat at the top of the order and lay the foundation for the likes of following batsmen Eoin Morgan, Dinesh Karthik and Andre Russell, which he has been doing to perfection in the last two seasons.
“I will bat as per team demand. I don’t have a fixed batting slot. I’m available to serve the team at any spot,” said Rana, who has mostly batted at either No. 3 or 4 for KKR in the last two IPLs, crossing 300-plus in both seasons.
The left-hander who is known for his big-hitting abilities expressed his desires of learning from England captain Eoin Morgan, who has made a return to the franchise after playing for them in 2011-2013 after being picked up in the auction for 5.25 crores.
“I hope I also have that sort of leadership quality so that it helps in my domestic team and I grow as a player,” Rana said. “He is one such rare left-handed batsman who dominates white-ball cricket. He’s a World Cup-winning captain of a successful country. I’m looking forward to learning many things from him.”
KKR start their IPL 2020 campaign against defending champions Mumbai Indians on September 23 in Abu Dhabi.