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Prajakta Pawar in Johannesburg

We have done our homework: Thomas

Titans pacer says his team is ready for CLT20 challenge

The South African domestic T20 champions, the Titans, are well prepared to play the opening match of the Karbonn Champions League Twenty20 2012 against the Perth Scorchers. Ahead of the game, on a rainy Johannesburg morning, Alfonso Thomas spoke to clt20.com about playing against Perth Scorchers tomorrow while they waited for the skies to clear so that they could get some practice.

The go-to man for any captain under tough conditions, the bowler told us about the key to his bowling and the weapons in his armoury with which he runs through oppositions. A hard-hitting lower-order bat, Thomas confessed that though he enjoys his batting, he hasn’t been working on it; but hopes to take it more seriously in the future.      

Excerpts from the interview:

Being a team from South Africa what is the feeling going into the opening game?

It is exciting. It is good thing that we are playing the first game so that the ice can be broken early [and] so you don’t sit there for another couple of days. The boys are looking forward and they are well prepared. Whether we get on with the practice game today or not we are not really bothered because we know that we have done the homework. We are well prepared and we are looking forward to getting a home crowd in on Saturday and hopefully we can put up a good show.

Do you have any special plans for the Perth Scorchers and players like Herschelle Gibbs and Shaun Marsh?

There are no special plans. We have got a couple of world-class players in our team. On the day it is going to be bat versus ball and who executes the game plans the best. We are not going to discuss names and individuals because at the end of the day it is 11 versus 11.

What is the key to playing in the shortest format of the game?

You need to have your basic game plan whether you are a bowler or a batsman. It is important that you actually back your own game plan. Guys have a game plan and once they go on to the park somewhere somehow the game plan changes. It is important that you have your game plan whether it works or it doesn’t work. I think it is important that you back that 100 percent.

How do you mentally prepare yourself to stay calm under pressure?

It’s like the old cliché; you just take it ball by ball. From a bowlers point of view you need to look at every ball as an event. And I just look at us bowlers as being there to spoil the party. People don’t want to come and see us take five wickets; they want to see hit batters hit the ball out of the park. So, we are just there to spoil the party and that’s how I approach my game. As far as pressure is concerned, it’s the kind of thing I like; I want to be in that situation and I think that if you can adopt that kind of attitude that will stand you in good stead.

What is your trick when it comes to bowling in powerplays and death overs?

You just have to go into the nets and practice. I have my game plans and I know what I am trying to do and there are days that it works and there are days when it doesn’t work. My key is to swing the ball up front and hopefully that will get me wickets. I tend to go the normal, traditional way when it comes to the back end of bowling most of the overs. I tend to try and go with my yorkers and hopefully I can get a bit of reverse swing, which makes it a lot easier as a bowler. So, those are the kind of things I do. I am probably an old fashioned kind of bowler up front, I look to swing the ball and towards the back end try and bowl my Yorkers.

How do you work on getting reverse swing on the wickets here?

You can work with what you have got. There are times that it can reverse, but probably with us being in the early part of the season in South Africa where the wicket and squares aren’t as abrasive as it will be around the new year. What I saw in couple of the qualifier games is that the ball has been swinging for a longer period of time, so that is something that we can work with. You just got to play with what the conditions are giving you. Whether there is normal swing or whether there is reverse swing or whether there is no swing I think it is up to the bowler how good his skill is to actually execute his game plans.

You are also known to chip in with runs. Do you enjoy your batting?

Yes, I do enjoy my batting. I could take it a bit more seriously. I do tend to neglect my batting and but that is something that I want to work on. And hopefully I am not required with the bat in this tournament, but if I am I hope to contribute to the team. 

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