Yusuf: 'Will miss Russell in KKR dressing room'

Yusuf Pathan said that West Indian all-rounder Andre Russell, who's been handed a one-year ban for violating anti-doping whereabouts regulations, would be missed in the KKR dressing room.

"(Andre) Russell is a different kind of player... Apart from his performances, he contributed well towards creating a good environment in the dressing room," said Yusuf Pathan of his KKR teammate.   -  K. R. DEEPAK

Swashbuckling Kolkata Knight Riders batsman Yusuf Pathan said the presence of so many all-rounders would give his side a lot of options in the 10th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

“We have got a good variety of batsmen, pacers and spinners. We have batting all-rounders, spin all-rounders and fast bowling all-rounders. This gives confidence to the team and you enjoy playing for such a side,” Yusuf said during an interaction ahead of his KKR’s practice session here on Sunday.

“The selection is going to be tough. Selection of final XI for the first match of the season always becomes a tough affair.”

The 34-year-old said the
inclusion of English all-rounder Chris Woakes would be an added benefit. “Chris Woakes has joined today. His presence gives the team a lot of balance.”

Yusuf, nevertheless, admitted that West Indian all-rounder Andre Russell, who's been handed a one-year ban for violating anti-doping whereabouts regulations, would be missed in the KKR dressing room.

“Russell is a different kind of player. He has done well for us. Apart from his performances, he contributed well towards creating a good environment in the dressing room. We will miss him in dressing room. Maybe we will miss him on the ground also. But we will concentrate on what we have than what we don’t have.”

Yusuf said KKR would not be under pressure while playing its first two matches away. “Good that we are playing away. Not much pressure. We know how the conditions will be in Rajkot and Wankhede. IPL has touched 10 years, so you have got some idea about how different pitches will play. You need to adapt fast as a professional cricketer.”

Deviating a little from the IPL, Yusuf, who was part of India’s 2011 World Cup winning squad, fondly remembered the moment of glory achieved exactly six years ago. “It was a proud moment – not just for me, but for the whole country. It was the biggest trophy (for the country) after 1983 (World Cup). It gave us a lot of happiness. It will always be a memorable moment,” he said.