Jacques Kallis: ‘Backing Nitish Rana has paid off’

Displaying poise and panache in equal measure, the left-handed Rana has been the backbone of KKR's batting and his part-time off-spin has come in handy, in giving breakthroughs.

It was during its first leg match against Mumbai Indians (MI), in Mumbai, in 2017, when KKR spotted Nitish Rana. (File Photo)   -  AFP

With Nitish Rana emerging as one of the biggest gains of the new-look Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), chief coach Jacques Kallis, on Monday, said that it always backed the Delhi youngster fully and it is paying off.

Displaying poise and panache in equal measure, the left-handed batsman has been the backbone of KKR's batting and his part-time off-spin has come in handy, in giving breakthroughs.

“We had given him a message that he will be a settled member in the side and he just needs to showcase his talent. We are backing him 100 per cent and certainly, it has paid off,” Kallis said of Rana, who has got two Man of the Match awards this season.

It was during its first leg match against Mumbai Indians (MI), in Mumbai, in 2017, when KKR spotted Rana. Batting at No. 3, Rana smashed a 29-ball 50 to help MI secure a four-wicket win and was adjudged Man of The Match.

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“He played well against us in Mumbai. We had heard some good things about him, but, perhaps, he didn’t get as many games for MI as he would have liked. He certainly has got a bright future with KKR,” Kallis said.

Having lost to Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), by DLS method, here, on April 21, KKR has slipped to third place, two points behind leaders Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Kings XI Punjab, in the league standings. It, next, takes on Delhi Daredevils (DD), in the return leg fixture, on April 27.

“We are in the mid-table now, the other end would not have been nice. We have played some good cricket. It’s nice to get a few days off and regroup in Delhi, and hope to return to winning ways,” Kallis said, as the KKR team enjoyed a day’s break, playing golf for charity.

KKR star all-rounder Andre Russell pulled his hamstring, during its match against KXIP, but assistant coach, Simon Katich, said that the Jamaican will be fit and fine. “We rely on Andre because he will be fit,” he said of Russell.