IPL 2012: Zaheer, Wasim posed tough challenge, says Sangakkara

Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara, who has amassed more than 20,000 runs in international cricket, is leading the Deccan Chargers team in the ongoing Indian Premier League AFP

Mumbai: Apr 28, 2012

Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sangakkara, who has amassed more than 20,000 runs in international cricket, on Saturday, said facing former Pakistan skipper Wasim Akram and Indian pacer Zaheer Khan were the toughest.

“I think I only faced a few overs of Wasim Akram but that was pretty tough. Zaheer Khan was tough to face,” the former Sri Lankan captain said.

The wicketkeeper-batsman, however added in a lighter vein that some of his teammates in the Deccan Chargers had managed to get him out unjustly.

“Darren Lehman (coach of Chargers) got me caught out when the ball hit my front pad, but he still says I was out…(Dale) Steyn has got me out a couple of times once unluckily of a no-ball,” said Sangakkara during an event organised by the Deccan Chargers team sponsor Emirates Airline.

A couple of players and the coach from the Hyderabad franchise were here to interact with and impart coaching tips to kids from a city school to promote development of the sport at the grassroot level.

Meanwhile, Australian Cameron White, whose quickfire 78 helped the Chargers register their first win in the Indian Premier League when they defeated Pune Warriors, said the best way to negotiate the yorkers is to get back to the fundamentals of watching the ball.

“You have to get back to the fundamentals of watching the ball and probably the most important point is to try and hit it straight. If you try and across the line you might get into a bit of trouble. The most important thing is to hit straight back down the pitch,” said White.

With short-pitched deliveries posing a problem to most Indian players, Lehman said, “You have to make sure that you are watching the ball and not ducking your head away. And if you want to play the hook shot get inside the ball and play it at backward square.”

When a budding cricketer asked how to play a long innings and score a century, Sangakkara said, “The important thing is not to get out before you get your hundred. First get off the mark and get one run. Then its about basically doing very similar things over and over again in your innings. Watching the ball, playing according to what the ball tells you to do.”

“Basically you are trying to get off the mark. Rotate the strike. If you get a bad ball, try to hit it for a boundary.

(You have to think about) Which bowler you want to take on in your innings, when to accelerate and when to hold back.

“It is about batting and relaxing through your innings and getting every single run you can. It is about doing what you do best and doing it ball after ball until you get the hundred,” he explained.

The Sri Lankan further said it was heartening to see the kids hungry to play the game.

“Hopefully, in future they turn out be like Sachin Tendulkar, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Zaheer Khan. They will go on if given an opportunity and play for India some day,” he said.

Sangakkara-led Deccan Chargers take on host Mumbai Indians here tomorrow. (PTI)