KXIP head coach Mike Hesson: Mohammed Shami will be given adequate rest

Commenting on Shami and K. L. Rahul, Hesson says, “If they feel little jaded during the course of the IPL, we will rest them.”

Mohammed Shami will ply his trade for Kings XI Punjab this season.   -  K. MURALI KUMAR

Mohammad Shami, India’s right-arm seamer, will be given adequate rest during the Indian Premier League (IPL) keeping the World Cup in mind, Kings XI Punjab head coach Mike Hesson has assured.

Shami, one of India’s best performers with the ball in 2018, is expected to share the new-ball at the World Cup alongside Jasprit Bumrah. Therefore, managing the workload in the IPL, which precedes the World Cup, will be important.

‘Case-by-case basis’

Commenting on the Shami and K. L. Rahul, the top-order batsman, Hesson said, “It is going to be on a case-by-case basis. I have had chats with K. L. Rahul and Mohammed Shami. They are keen to make a big contribution for KXIP and we are certainly very keen to have them. We will manage them like every player throughout the tournament.”

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He added: “If they feel little jaded during the course of the IPL, we will rest them. Whether they need extra training or rest, I am not sure for how many games we will rest them. We also have to see how the season goes for the team but they both are very keen to make a big contribution.”

The team will have to factor in the availability of foreign players. The problem will not be too acute for Kings XI, according to Hesson. “Availability will be an issue but we will be least affected than most teams. Afghanistan players will probably leave later in the group stage, South African players towards the play-offs, not sure if they will be asked to go back. There is a Sheffield Shield final in Australia also but we certainly have got enough players to deal with that,” Hesson said.

‘Good discussions’

At the training camp in Mohali, Hesson is getting to know the players and is enjoying his conversations with R. Ashwin, the captain. “We have similar thoughts around the way we want to play the game. We have had some good discussions on the game along with the rest of the support staff. Ashwin reads the game well and is very clear in his mind. We just have to give him the best group of players to work with on the park,” Hesson said.

Hesson called Ashwin a “highly competitive person.”

“What I know about Ashwin is that he is a highly competitive person. That has not changed. He has been training well for the[IPL] and is fiercely determined. I don’t think has changed,” Hesson said.

Mike Hesson: "We have got a lot of flexibility in the [Kings XI Punjab] squad." Photo: Vivek Bendre   -  vivek bendre


Hesson also had expectations from Chris Gayle, the swashbuckling West Indian opener. “Look [Gayle] is a world-class performer. He has come off a series against England and he was in superb form there. He is a good frame of mind and we are keen to see how he goes this year. We are expecting big things from him,” Hesson said.

‘Lot of flexibility’

Among the bowlers available in the squad, Hesson has been impressed with Ankit Rajpoot, the right-arm fast bowler from Uttar Pradesh; Arshdeep Singh, the left-arm seamer from Punjab; and Harpreet Brar, a spinner. “We have got a lot of flexibility in the squad. When you play 14 games in a variety of conditions, flexibility is critical. We can’t just rely on 11-12 players. When you come across different surfaces you need to be able to adapt and we have the resources to do that,” Hesson pointed out.

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Commenting on the World Cup, Hesson said India and England were favourites. “New Zealand, too, [has] a good chance. Their batsmen are in form at the moment, if the ball swings in England, New Zealand [has] a big chance. Outside of that, India and England are still the two form teams, Australia [is] sneaking up and South Africa [is] useful. Those five sides are ahead of others at the moment,” Hesson contended.

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