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Kallis defends inclusion of rusty Mehmood for crunch game

Pepsi IPL S7 - Match 19 KKR v RR

Mumbai: Kolkata Knight Riders’ mentor Jacques Kallis has defended his side’s surprise inclusion of rusty Azhar Mehmood in the playing eleven in their crunch IPL cricket game against Rajasthan Royals — which they lost — as a horse for the course policy.

“It was a tough call. There was some extra grass on the wicket and it looked like it would help the seamers a little bit extra. There was not too much for the spinners. We felt including him would give that extra seam action as well as lancing (strengthening) our batting in seaming conditions. It ended up being a really good wicket,” said Kallis at the post-match press conference last night.

Defending champions KKR failed to chase an imposing target of 200 and lost the match by nine runs to be virtually out of contention for a play-off berth.

The victory, on the other hand, has propelled 2008 champions Rajasthan into the play-offs with 16 points from 14 games.

“Probably it was a side that we were not used to playing but still the players who came in were good enough and capable to produce the goods. That’s the disappointing part,” observed former South Africa all-rounder Kallis.

Pakistan-born and England-based Mehmood, who did not get a look-in in the first 13 games, was included in place of West Indian bowler Sunil Narine and was very expensive in his three overs, giving away 41 runs, and then made just six while batting in the huge run-chase.

“It was a tough selection. Obviously the wicket here is more seam-friendly than spin friendly. Sunny (Narine) probably has not been the same bowler, has been under the spotlight. He is working hard in his action. He is probably not as effective as he was last season. It will take time,” Kallis said.

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