IPL 2021: Chris Jordan hopes to add value as batsman

Punjab Kings’ bowling all-rounder Jordan, with a vast experience in T20 leagues, has been batting a lot at the nets.

Punjab's Chris Jordan bowls during an IPL 2020 contest. - BCCI/IPL

Chris Jordan is known to be a death overs specialist in T20 cricket. He will be gunning for a spot in the Punjab Kings starting XI to not only cure the wounds from last season but to also provide a valuable batting option.

There are only a handful of bowlers in the Punjab franchise who can bat. Jordan is one of them, and looking at the foreign/Indian player balance in the side, he could be a possible No. 7 if the team management decides to strengthen its middle-order with Nicholas Pooran and Dawid Malan alongside Chris Gayle at the top.

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Ahead of Punjab Kings’ opening game against Rajasthan Royals at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, England international Jordan had a free-wheeling chat with Sportstar.

Excerpts.

Q. Having been in India for quite sometime now, do you feel the preparation for IPL has been a lot better this time around?

A. Conditions play a part. I have obviously been here since the T20 series against India and now before the IPL, your mind and body is conditioned. You feel confident and well-prepared but it’s just about playing the game on your day and getting off to a fastest start. We played a lot of good cricket last year but lost out on the key moments. It cost us the games but we were competitive. We have to get over those hurdles early. Some early wins can settle down the group and give a lot more confidence than what it already has. The mood in the camp is quite good. There is clarity. It is just about getting the momentum.

The bowling performance at death has been a concern for Punjab last year. How do you plan to make it better?

Every surface is slightly different, In different situations you will be bowling to different batters. Yes, we did not do as well as we could last time but we accepted it and were honest about it and then we put things in place. It might not be a skill thing but it is about a slight mindset shift and trying to be a little bit smarter in those crucial situations. At death, things are quite fast-paced and maybe it is better if one can maintain the calm. You have one of the most dangerous hitters in the game and you have to try to get the better of them on your day.

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How much of Jordan the batsman are we going to see this season?

I can’t tell into the future. But if I do play, I will add some more value with the bat for the team. I think that can really help the team and I have been working hard at the nets to try and perform that role to the best of my ability. I am trying to be clear and as free in my mind. See ball, hit ball!

What makes Dawid Malan the No. 1 T20I batsman? You have seen him enough in the England dressing room...

Dawid is a top player. He is obviously the World No. 1 and that’s for a reason. One of the biggest reasons is his consistency. He can play to the situation and there is also consistency in his training. He is meticulous with his routine and he really believes in the things he does to prepare himself. Getting runs or not, those routines and habits remain consistent and that translates into international cricket.

‘Someone with so much experience, he enjoys life and that translates into his cricket. He is a lovely character and spends time with younger players.’ - Jordan on Chris Gayle

As a kid from the Caribbean islands, you must have dreamt of meeting Chris Gayle one day. Now that you are playing with him, tell us about your experience...

When I was younger, I never thought it would happen. I played with him in RCB earlier in the IPL. The biggest thing for me is how much belief he has in his own abilities. Even in the most pressure situations with the team doing well or not too well, his character and demeanour is very consistent. Someone with so much experience, he enjoys life and that translates into his cricket. He is a lovely character and spends time with younger players.

How difficult it is to keep composure when moving from one bio-bubble to the other?

For me, what’s gone is gone. I am trying to spend time in the present, I can’t change the situation. I am trying to smile, that’s the biggest thing for me. It’s a bit of a cliché and a lot of people have said it but we are fortunate that we are still playing cricket in such unprecedented times. I am not going to sit here and say it is easy, because it is not. But nothing in life comes easy. You need to find ways to deal with it.

Chris Gayle (left) shares a light moment with Chris Jordan during IPL 2016. - BCCI/IPL

We hear there is a bio-bubble officer now. What is he doing?

From the bio-officer’s point of view, they are just overseeing things and ensuring protocols are followed. One mistake can change the situation. They have a job to do like we, as players, have.

Will pace be the new weapon for Punjab Kings with fast bowlers such as Riley Meredith, Mohammed Shami and Jhye Richardson in the ranks?

I can’t really disclose strategy but what I would say is that it is exciting. I am privileged and pleased to share the dressing room with these guys. We are in a position where we all can learn from each other. There is express pace there. I am really looking forward to the prospect of all the four pacers coming together. If the pace unit clicks, the team will be in a good place to make a deep run into the playoffs.

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