IPL-winner Rutherford eager to incorporate new-found knowledge

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By Akeem Greene

Sherfane Rutherford did not feature any of the 16 matches for Mumbai Indians in their triumphant campaign at this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL).

The all-rounder was drafted by Mumbai Indians even before the draft after a reasonably successful season with Delhi Capitals last season when he played seven matches.

Given the strong core of Mumbai Indians and his West Indies captain Keiron Pollard being the pillar in the middle-order, forcing a spot in the playing XI was difficult for the young Guyanese.

However, he still made gains during the two-month stint in the United Arab Emirates as he learnt from the seasoned professionals, including Head Coach Mahela Jayawardene, about how to improve his game and match awareness.

Sherfane Rutherford at a Mumbai Indians training session

“For me it was not difficult [not playing]; it is cricket, sometimes you play, sometimes you don’t. It is how best you can learn; there is a lot to learn whether you play or not,” he related to News Room Sport from Pakistan on Wednesday.

“For me it was all about learning; learning from the senior guys and the coaches while the game is playing and find out how a batsman thinks or a bowler. I am not upset about not playing, once we are winning and the team is performing, that is all that matters to me.”

The 22-year-old, who boasts genuine potential as an all-rounder, explained the coach taught him the benefits of staying calm in pressure situations.

“One of the standout things for me was keep it simple, don’t overreact. It shows that the team that panics less is going to win and those are some of the things I learnt from him. He said you don’t go into a game with too much of expectations because that’s when you fail and those are things I will look to add to my game and be better.”

The man from Enmore North is the first Guyanese to lift the prized IPL title and there was some banter from his West Indies and Guyana teammates Keemo Paul and Shimron Hetmyer about who would win the final.

Paul and Hetmyer were part of Delhi Capitals, whom Mumbai Indians faced in the final.

“Before the game the three of us were talking and I said one of the Guyanese has to get it today and we started laughing and after [the match] they said you are first. It is a joy that I am the first; it is a team where they are so much of great players [and they] showed me that winning is no easy thing.”

Though aware the possibility of him playing the final was minuscule, the nerves were ever-present and according to him, he had three sleepless nights prior to Tuesday’s final.

“Winning the tournament is never easy; it starts from the preparation with the work we have been putting in in the last two months and winning the tournament was the best thing for me.”

“I was just up anxious; I was just thinking about it and thinking about how I could contribute even though I was not playing, but I think the guys have done well and all the work over the two months shows that once you keep working hard it is going to show on the field.”

Rutherford wants to return to playing for West Indies and is working hard on his fitness

Working hard is Rutherford’s current personal ultimatum since he was dropped from the West Indies T20 squad for the tour to Sri Lanka in March after failing a fitness test. He had played the previous series against Ireland in January.

He entered the IPL after a forgettable Caribbean Premier League with just 39 runs in seven matches for Guyana Amazon Warriors, but indicated a bright future beckons with the amount of work he is doing behind the scenes.

“Coming into Mumbai there was a lot of work putting in; I had the trainer and I was telling him I need to get to 40 [on the yo-yo Test] so there was a lot of work putting in and still putting in. I am working very hard to get back there [West Indies] because that is my dream. The work that I am doing is going to show over the next year or when the opportunity presents itself.”

Rutherford is currently in Pakistan where he is set to feature for Karachi Kings in the Pakistan Super League playoff.

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