Tye turns from back-up bowler to spearhead

The GL pacer’s feat against Rising Pune Supergiant (Ankit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary and Shardul Thakur dismissed off consecutive deliveries) was the second wicket-taking feat on an interesting IPL Friday.

Andrew Tye celebrates his hat-trick with wicket keeper Dinesh Karthik.   -  PTI

Australian T20 international, Andrew Tye, made the batsmen and coaches in Indian Premier League (IPL) sit up and take notice of his temperament and craft. Five wickets by the 30-year-old on debut for Gujarat Lions (GL), including a hat-trick, makes him an object of curiosity. He was in dug-out for the first two games, watching his team struggle to bowl sides out.

Tye sitting on the bench while his fellow GL bowlers were being blown away seemed strange and it was only in the crucial encounter against Pune that GL bowling coach Heath Streak and team coach Brad Hodge gave the lanky fast bowler a look-in. He dismissed England all-rounder Ben Stokes, local talent Rahul Tripathi and ensured that his name will be talked about in IPL with a 20th over hat-trick.

READ: Tye, Badree bag hat-tricks to spice up IPL

The GL pacer’s feat against Rising Pune Supergiant (Ankit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary and Shardul Thakur dismissed off consecutive deliveries) was the second wicket-taking feat on an interesting IPL Friday. West Indian Samuel Badree notched the first hat-trick (RCB against Mumbai Indians) earlier in the day. “I was actually shocked. It is very rarely that hat-tricks one after another happen same day,” reacted Tye.

While Badree ended on the losing side, Tye was the toast of the night at the SCA stadium. Youngsters watching T20 now have a bowling sensation to learn from, about patience and persistence in cricket. “I have been around here in the IPL for 34 matches. I was used to the atmosphere and knew what the processes were. I am just happy to be here. To get a game is awesome”, said the Australian, who was signed by Chennai Super Kings in 2015 but did not get to play a game. GL got him last season but kept him as back-up.

Tye kept waiting and training, watching and learning for two seasons, so when the chance arrived, he delivered. “I have not won any games, this was my first and went out to enjoy. There was no pressure on me.” His reputation as a consistent wicket-taking bowler, a specialist in death overs, was made in the Big Bash back home and England county cricket. Australian selectors handed him a T20 debut against India last season in Melbourne.

Coming over to be part of IPL and not getting a look-in beyond training was part of the experience. “Last year we had Dale Steyn and I learnt a lot from him. This is my third year with Dwayne Bravo, both are similar bowlers and like our death bowling. It was frustrating at times (sitting out), but we have access to some of the best coaches in the world. A great place to develop your game, if not playing.”

A match-winner in Big Bash back home, he observed: “James Faulkner and Praveen Kumar are great guys to learn from. I ask questions and try to help young bowler like Basil Thampi. It is a good culture over here at Gujarat Lions. Heath Streak (GL bowling coach) understands what the international player is going to need and works with younger bowlers as well. Brad Hodge is a good coach.”

Tye sized up the Rajkot track quickly when Raina chose to chase after winning the toss. “The wicket was a little bit on the slower side, we summed that up pretty quickly and realised that slower balls were sticking a bit to the track. Our bowlers made better use of slower balls. I enjoyed the hat-trick and the Ben Stokes wicket gave was most satisfying. He was at the crease for a while, looked sound and dangerous.”

The Aussie uses height to gain bounce, can slip in knuckle balls with ease. Shardul Thakur’s wicket, which confirmed the hat-trick, was a disguised slower one into the block-hole. “My knuckle ball seems to work very well. I probably got four out of five wickets with my slower ball. It is my best ball and bowl that when I need to. Having said that, if that is not working, I have got plenty of options.”

Tye, named man of the match, was delighted that the day had proved for fruitful for the bowlers, referring to the hat-trick picked up by Badree. “T20 is very much a batsman’s game, but if you can slightly bait the batsman a bit, all it takes is a mishit to get a wicket. I am grateful for being able to take five. Guys like (Samuel) Badree and me were able to show that IPL is not entirely a batsman’s game.”

Team captain Suresh Raina leapt into his arms after he nailed the hat-trick, signalling a status update from a back-up pacer to the spearhead.

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