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Shirin Sadikot in Delhi

Thought like a batsman while bowling: Simmons

T&T opener gives an insight on his all-round performance against CSK

Lendl Simmons was the second highest run-getter in the Caribbean Premier League, playing for the Guyana Amazons, and he was looked up to as a key member in the Trinidad & Tobago team in their 2013 CLT20 sojourn.

After three failures (he scored 14, 0, 0) with the bat, the opening batsman stood out with his all-round performance when his team needed it the most – in a must-win game against Chennai Super Kings – to help T&T qualify for the Knockout stage.

After taking two wickets in as many overs, Simmons scored an unbeaten 63 (41 balls) to see his team through to the semi-final of CLT20 for the first time since 2009. The eight-wicket win means the Caribbean team will now take on Mumbai Indians in the second semi-final, in Delhi on October 5.

In a post-match chat with clt20.com, Simmons revealed the role that Brian Lara has played in the team’s success and the value he adds to the T&T dressing room. He also spoke about his own all-round aspirations.

Here are excerpts from his interview:

Beating a team like CSK to qualify for the semis must feel very satisfying?

It is a good feeling. We came here with one purpose that was to win. We’re playing some good cricket at the moment and we’ve been pretty consistent so far.

You chose the perfect moment to bring your A game. What an all-round performance in a must-win match!

I think I was a bit unlucky in the last couple of games; once I got an inside edge and played on to my wicket and the other time I got caught behind. Today I decided to give myself a chance by grafting in the beginning before playing my shots. Later on the ball came on to the bat. It did keep a bit low, but overall it was a good performance.

What about your bowling? You looked like a genuine all-rounder today

Yes, people now see my role as that of an all-rounder. I like ‘keeping wicket, but I favour bowling more. Also, I love fielding. I have been given an opportunity to bowl in the last two games and it has been good so far. Hopefully, the captain has the confidence to give me the ball regularly.

Do you bowl more in T20s than in the longer formats?

Not really, I am not seen as a regular bowler. I am just called on to bowl at a crucial time when we desperately need a breakthrough. I have been able to deliver for the team of late and hopefully I can go from strength to strength in that regards.

The beauty of your bowling today was that while you were extremely disciplined overall, both your wickets came off slightly wayward deliveries

I understand that not all the times you bowl a good ball and get a wicket. Sometimes, when you’re bowling, you have to think like a batsman as well. You need to think what balls the batsman would go after and prompt him to do so by changing up things a bit.

Talk about the Brian Lara effect on the team

When he’s around, the team has a different vibe and everybody buzzes with positivity. When he talks, we all listen. So far whatever he’s told us has benefitted our team. Although he hasn’t played too much T20 cricket, he helps us a lot in terms of understanding the process of going about your batting. He reads the game so well and that helps us form our strategies too. He lets us know when the time is right to attack and when we need to take it easy. We are also learning that art of reading the game from him.

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