IPL 2020: Time to “nail it”, says positive Rutherford
- encouraged by Pollard to absorb knowledge on offer
By Akeem Greene
Mumbai Indians all-rounder Sherfane Rutherford had a forgettable 2020 Caribbean Premier League (CPL), and has now labelled the Indian Premier League (IPL), which starts Saturday, as one where he has no choice but to perform.
In seven matches this season for Guyana Amazon Warriors, the left-hander scored just 39 runs, had an average of 5.6, a strike rate of 76.5, and a highest score of 15.
Speaking to News Room Sport on the eve of the opening clash with rivals Chennai Super Kings at Abu Dhabi on Saturday, the Guyanese said he has done a lot of reflection during the seven days of quarantine and knows, he has to come good.
“In my quarantine, I have been doing some thinking and it is like a decider for me; this tournament means a lot so I have been doing my work, I have been doing some recap and I am telling myself this is it, this is where it all matters, my performance is needed,” Rutherford stated.
“So given the opportunity, I have no choice or no chance [but] to nail it. There are no second chances here, I just have to be on it from ball one or game one when the opportunity presents itself.”
He added, “In life, no one is going to go through their entire career performing; that is something you have to accept, failure. I have given myself the best chance by training and my mindset will always be positive so coming into a new team, it is that same positive mindset.”
CPL was the first high-profile T20 tournament to be played after months of lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, and batsmen were challenged on the spin-friendly pitches in Trinidad and Tobago.
The 22-year-old, felt a lack of match practice hampered his confidence, but said that is still no excuse for the below-par returns.
“Before CPL, I didn’t go on a pitch for five months; it is not an excuse but I was a bit low on confidence and I was not having the confidence to go out and bat the way I should bat in cricket, you need to find ways.”
“Coming into this IPL it will be to find ways of scoring rather than looking for an excuse. The standout thing will be to find a way since this is our job and there are no excuses.”
Last season, Rutherford played seven matches for Delhi Capitals, and arguably his most impactful performance came against Royal Challengers Bangalore, when he scored a 13-ball 28 and took the prized wicket of AB de Villiers with his medium-pace.
It was a young Delhi team where he could have easily forced his way into the playing XI, but at Mumbai, the overseas group are high-caliber international cricketers, namely Kieron Pollard, Quinton de Kock, Chris Lynn, Trent Boult, James Pattinson, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Mitchell McClenaghan.
With Pollard, de Kock, and Boult set to be the favoured starters, Rutherford could compete for a spot with Coulter-Nile for the final overseas spot; the Australian does a similar pinch-hitting role and is more than a competent seam option.
“It is cricket; if I don’t play, there is still a lot to learn because sometimes it does not always be the way you want it to be but in a team where there is so much of good players, so much of players who have records, it is for me to learn.”
“Off the field I will look to learn from senior players and look to better my game. This is not the only tournament for me, there is a lot of other cricket to play and for the two months that I am here, that is something I am very key on, learn and do better.”
Notably, Rutherford’s flight to the U.A.E was shared with Pollard and his family. It is there he revealed the West Indies skipper advised him on the need to learn as much as he can with the franchise.
“He [Pollard] told me Mumbai is a family and [it is] a big opportunity with the new team…he told me to forget about the CPL. He said you are here for two months, learn. He said the CPL was not the best, but the key is learning. He said there is a lot of great players here and there is a lot of coaches I can work with to better my game.”
“He even messaged two days before training today [Friday] and was saying, always remember to learn and better your game, so I think it is going to be a learning curve for me.”
Due to the numerous cases of COVID-19 in India, the 13th edition of IPL will be played in a ‘bubble’ across three venues – Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.