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Gayle's simplest advice works wonders for Punjab's Pooran (Interview)

By Khurram Habib

New Delhi, April 7 (IANS) Nicholas Pooran, who had the best batting strike rate for batsmen with over 300 runs in the last edition of Indian Premier League, says his Punjab Kings teammate and fellow West Indian Chris Gayle’s ‘simplest advice’ of staying still and enjoy batting is easily the best tips he has got in his career.

“I look up to him (Gayle). He is one of my favourite batsmen. When I was growing up, I loved to watch him bat. I used to wake up early in the mornings to see him bat. He is a simple guy. He gives me the simplest advice, which is, ‘enjoy yourself and just stay as still as possible’,” the 25-year-old from Trinidad told IANS.

“This is the best advice he can give to someone because he plays his game like that. You see him on the field and you know — it is all about enjoyment and entertainment,” he added.

Pooran, who will be a key figure in Punjab Kings’ middle-order again, had scored 353 runs last season at a strike rate of 169.71.

He came out of the mandatory quarantine period on Wednesday.

“It (living in a bio-bubble) is definitely a challenge. If you are not in a bubble, then you can’t really speak about it, you don’t know what the feeling inside is like. It is a different challenge, especially playing a game and coming back to the hotel and getting stuck in your room,” said Pooran.

“Players are also human beings. I think a lot of people forget that they are human beings at the end of the day. You have feelings, you have emotions as well and it is a challenge. As professionals, we have to take it on our chin and find a way to live with it,” he said.

The southpaw finished his assignment with the West Indies in the home series against Sri Lanka on March 14 and was soon on his way to India, spending the mandatory week-long quarantine inside the hotel room.

“I slept a lot. [Besides] I spent a lot of time on my phone — Whatsapp, Instagram, Netflix — and doing workout in my room. I have started to watch ‘Lucifer’ [on Netflix]. It is quite okay,” he added.

Pooran feels that the Punjab franchise did well last year but was unlucky to miss out on the playoff spot.

Known as Kings XI Punjab till last year, the franchise was in the race for the playoffs till the last two matches. However, two successive losses in the end dashed their hopes of qualifying for the last-four stage.

“To be fair, last time we did get a lot of good scores. We were scoring 180-plus. I don’t think we played bad last year. This year we again have a good team. We have a lot of power [in batting],” Pooran added.

The Trinidadian is among a large number of West Indian players who play T20 franchise cricket across the world.

He feels that West Indies have some of the best T20 cricketers in the world, which make them favourites for the T20 World Cup scheduled later this year.

“We are always the underdogs at a World Cup. I think we have the best T20 players in the world. Once we play as a team, I don’t think anyone can beat us. We will be looking forward to playing as a team. We have a great chance to win the World Cup again,” he said.



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