Prajakta Pawar in Centurion
The boys are raring to go: Kitchen
Aces batsman says his team is looking forward to must-win game against Scorchers
“I always liked batting, although I was a fast bowler in my younger days, in primary school. My grandfather and my father were good influences on me for playing cricket. My grandfather was a good batsman and father always loved the game. There was always encouragement. I got that as a young lad and just took it through and played cricket,” he told clt20.com.
The batsman, who also bowls left-arm spin, added, “I am not sure why I really stopped bowling fast. I was left-handed and I tried bowling spin and it came out right and ever since then I have been working on it. I have also been working with Bruce Martin and Ronnie Hira while bowling in the nets. Talking to those guys and taking tips from them has brought me here.”
“I was really hungry to play for Auckland Aces and so when I got my chance, I took it with both hands and haven’t looked back since,” he said.
Playing in the CLT20 is another yet another opportunity for the Aces bat to take his game further. Speaking to clt20.com ahead of the Aces’ last league match, Kitchen talked about the immense opportunities that the CLT20 platform offers youngsters and domestic players from various countries.
Excerpts from his brief chat:
On what it means to him to be playing in a tournament like the CLT20
It means everything it is. It is an opportunity to play on a big stage and do everything that you have been dreaming about.
On the tour to South Africa
The tour has been very good for me. It will all go down to being prepared and coming to South Africa two weeks prior to the Qualifiers. Playing some good games there and come in good form and the confidence is high; so it is good.
On sharing space with senior international players
It’s good because you get a benchmark of where you want to be. And playing with guys that you are looking up to and want to be like and putting yourself against them helps me improve.
Watching people like Azhar Mahmood and Martin Guptill helps. It’s about having confidence in your game and what you have done well to get here; just take that into the game and do it for the team.
On his role in the side and his batting
Test the conditions and the game and just got to back yourself in Twenty20 and be positive and say you are in game and if it comes off, it comes off; if it doesn’t, you always have confidence in each other. And if one guy won’t stand up, we know that we have got everybody else that will.
In Twenty20 everybody goes outs and hits. Generally, I like to take some time and assess the conditions because you want to be a positive influence on the game, stand up for the lads and change the momentum. I like to be aggressive.
On the areas that he looks to improve on
The areas that I would improve on are probably to get starts while batting and get through and play for the team. And take myself through to the end.
On the training ahead of the tournament
When we first got here two weeks prior to the tournament we were in the Highveld; we were in Pretoria and two weeks were very good for us and getting us rolling and getting used to the conditions. And that kind of helped us hit the ground running in the Qualifiers.
On handling the pressure of playing in a tournament of this stature
I just think about it as another cricket game and just blank out the crowd. It comes with a lot of practice of playing cricket. When you play enough cricket, you understand that you have to ignore the small things. It doesn’t really get to me. It can, but you just have to stay in control and take deep breaths and just get there.
On his favourite batsman
My favourite batsman has to be Martin Guptill. Because he is a really good friend of mine and the way he goes out there, it’s positive. And the way he hits the ball, is amazing.
On what Guptill tells him while batting
He just reinforces all the positive things that I do. There is nothing negative about the guy.
On the must-win game
Yes definitely, there is a great chance tomorrow to qualify for the semi-finals. All the boys are raring to go and can’t wait to get out there and play.