In this inaugural episode of Knights Chemistry, we have two of our prime pacers – Prasidh Krishna and Lockie Ferguson – indulging in a candid discussion where they speak about crucial details surrounding bowlers’ mindsets and KKR’s bowling preparations for IPL 2020.

Lockie was one of the key performers for New Zealand in the 2019 World Cup and his bowling impressed us all, including his KKR teammate Prasidh. Talking to him, Ferguson said that going into the tournament, he felt “undercooked” and needed to work on quite a few things before he could fire all his cylinders. He insisted that it was the chemistry between his bowling mates that took New Zealand into the final.

He said, “We were quite a settled fast bowling unit and had a lot of depth. The bowlers had a tough competition, but we ensured that when we played, we talked about partnerships, just like we have with batsmen. We focused on building pressures from both ends, starting well and finishing well to create pressure throughout the innings and bother the batters. I guess because all the bowlers had been together for a long time and knew each other so well, that we could get the partnerships to work.”

Prasidh, who has been with the Knights family for three consecutive years, believed that such chemistry between the bowlers would underline KKR’s bowling performances this year, as most of the bowlers have been together for two or more years. Lockie felt the same as he went on to add, “I think we need to create a team within a team. There might be days when you don’t get the wickets despite the tough overs. But your other fast bowling partners will recognise the hard work. We need to make this kind of team mentality to work better and get more success.”

Prasidh, who has even dealt with some injuries in his career so far, expressed his happiness to be finally back to cricket without any niggles. He said, “For all of us I think the quarantine period here felt like 2-3 months, as we were itching to get back on the field. But I am glad to be back here playing cricket with people whom I love. I am having such a nice time being together and playing together with the team both on and off the field. I am excited to get back to cricket.”

The Karnataka lad has often been trusted with death bowling and he felt that the team’s trust in him always instilled more confidence in him to do better. He explained his go-to deliveries for the death overs when he has to defend his team’s total. “I generally start with my stock delivery or my strongest delivery. Then it’s all about the momentum. I try to bluff the batsmen with yorkers and the slower ones. I think the first two balls are crucial. If you land them at the wrong spot, the pressure is going to mount,” he analysed.

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Sweating my 🥜s off...

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Even though the lockdown took a heavy toll on most of the Indian cricketers, back in New Zealand, cricketers had a relatively easier time. Sharing his experience about the situation, Lockie said, “We were fortunate that we were out of the lockdown. None of us played any cricket really. My last game was in March in Sydney and I had to go and collect the ball from the stands as there was no crowd.

“I hope we don’t have to do that too much this tournament! We are so used to playing in front of a large crowd that you can hear your team and everyone cheering. Nevertheless, I am very excited to be back with the KKR crew. This year, the group seems to be in a very positive mind frame.”

Lockie also discussed with Prasidh his practice secrets behind bowling those lethal yorkers. “The time when you are trying to bowl those yorkers is mostly at the death, right? For me when I am training, I bowl at a pad that’s kept at a yorker length. Every time it hits the pad, I get some endorphins because I feel good! I think it’s more of a mental preparation for me. In matches, I try and bowl early yorkers because if you get them right, your confidence gets a boost,” he pointed. Prasidh underlined Lockie’s thoughts and added, “I think for me as well, it’s about confidence. Any kind of doubt is going to land the ball a centimetre ahead or behind, which would mean an easy six for a batsman.”

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Raring to go 👊💪 @kkriders #IPL2020

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We got that point Lockie, but when can we expect to see those alluring curls back in your moustache! The fans, anyway, are missing out on a lot of entertainment this year! Is your ‘stache going to rob them off more entertainment?

“Every time I do an interview, the first question I am asked is about my moustache! No one is really focusing on my bowling, it’s just my facial hair (laughs)! But yeah, I am trying to grow them back, so hopefully, the curls will be back by the time we start (playing).”

Speaking of which, we are not too far away from the first match of the season. Gear up as we take on Mumbai Indians on Wednesday, September 23 at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi.