Former Kolkata Knight Riders captain Sourav Ganguly is happy that a fit Umesh Yadav is bowling at full steam again. The injury-prone Yadav has been vital to India's bowling strength overseas and Ganguly feels his KKR form is good news ahead of the tour of England and Australia later this year.
Writing for www.gocricket.com, Ganguly praised Robin Uthappa for his fine form this season. Uthappa is the first batsman to register 40 or more in seven successive innings in the IPL. Retired Australian opener Matthew Hayden (2009), Virender Sehwag (2012) and Michael Hussey (2013) have recorded a similar feat five times each.
Uthappa scored a breezy 67 off 39 balls against a quality Chennai Super Kings attack at the Eden Gardens as KKR cantered to an eight-win win at home. This was Uthappa's fourth fifty in IPL 2014 and 12th overall.
Uthappa's performance stands out, writes Ganguly. "IPL history suggests that teams who have done well, have had a top order batsman scoring lots of runs and Robin has played the role perfectly. If one looks at the years gone by it has been Chris Gayle, Mike Hussey, Sachin Tendulkar and Adam Gilchrist who have done that at the top and have contributed to their teams' success," said Ganguly.
Uthappa's aggregate of 489 (ave.40.75) in 12 innings is the highest by an Indian batsman in IPL this year. Uthappa leads the run getters' charts among the Indians and lies next to Orange cap holder Kings XI Punjab's Glenn Maxwell who has 531 from 11 matches.
Not just Uthappa, Ganguly says KKR have played like a team and contribution from Shakib-Al-Hasan was equally crucial.
"Shakib Al Hasan has been amazing with the bat and ball and his batting form against CSK was superb. He hit the ball cleanly, and it will be a confidence booster to the middle order which had looked brittle at the start of the season," wrote Ganguly.
From an Indian team point of view, Ganguly feels Yadav bowling at a good pace is good news.
"It will be heartening for the selectors and the Indian team since a fit Umesh is very important to the side. India are soon touring England and Australia later this year and his pace will be very important to the team. The Indian bowling attack needs that push and hopefully he can provide that," said Ganguly.