Mumbai: Kolkata vice-captain Robin Uthappa has praised the all-round skills of his team-mate Sunil Narine but said that the West Indian has been doing better in the bowling department this IPL season.
"Sunil (Narine) is someone who is always enjoyed batting, someone who's always been a batsman who can bowl than a bowler. But what he bowled and what he does with his bowling skill is that his batting got overshadowed," Uthappa told reporters ahead of KKR's match against Mumbai on Sunday.
Narine has picked up 10 wickets from nine games and also has contributed with the bat amassing 193 runs with highest score of 50.
"So he (Narine) could always bat, open the innings. We saw that he can utilise the powerplay so well with the way he bats. And having someone like me at number three also makes it easier for the team and the management also to make that decision that if a wicket falls quickly, then you have another opening batsmen going in," said Uthappa.
"But he's come off so well, and it had also done a world of good to his confidence personally. From the outside when I look at it, he's got another opportunity to contribute to the team which had made him more successful as a player," the right-handed bastman explained.
Uthappa made it clear that with KKR's batting order, it was not possible for young Shubman Gill to bat higher up.
"Looking at the batting order we have, with Nitish Rana, with the kind of flexibility he brings us with a left-right combination, Shubman will not be finding a spot at the top four or five. Because you also can't send DK (Dinesh Karthik) lower than five. So Shubman found himself at 6 and 7 floating. It's all on the situation but I think it's a good problem to have," he said.
"I think he's taken a lot of the match time and when the opportunity came, he came out there and expressed himself. Even in the Delhi game, he really took responsibility. He gave us an outside chance in that game till he was batting with Andre (Russel). And when he got out, the game kind of slipped out for us. So I think he understands," Uthappa said.
Mumbai need to win all their remaining games to make it to the play-offs. Asked that Mumbai will go in with nothing to lose attitude, Uthappa said, "I don't think we're perceiving it from that point of view. For us it is taking it one game at a time and keeping our goal in the mind. We want to definitely finish in the top-two. So keeping that in mind, we'll work our way up to that place."
Uthappa also informed that a call on Nitish Rana, who is suffering from back spasms, will be taken on Sunday. Rana has only missed one game.
"Nitish seems like he is in a better place. It's his back. He's getting better but I think the call be taken later or tomorrow based on how he feels today," he signed off.