Dublin: Since missing out on the 2021 Mens T20 World Cup due to a calf tear, tearaway New Zealand pacer Lockie Ferguson has been part of trophy-winning teams in the domestic circuit: first in List A with Auckland in Ford Trophy and then in T20s with first-timers Gujarat Titans in IPL 2022.
In 13 matches for Gujarat, Ferguson picked 12 wickets at an average of 35.58 and an economy rate of 8.95, with best figures of 4/28. He also bowled 20 yorkers in a list where he was fifth alongside India pacer Prasidh Krishna and took the award for bowling the fastest ball of the tournament, at 157.3kmph in the final at Ahmedabad.
“Yeah, it was an exciting tournament. I’ve reached two IPL finals and lost both times (before the 2022 season). Just to get across the line and get that monkey off my back was good. The way the team is set up with Hardik (Pandya) and Ashish Nehra leading us, it’s a pretty calm and collected group.”
“It was fun to play with and David Miller had one of the all-time tournaments and you always love seeing it when it happens to a good guy. So, yeah, great team to be a part of,” Ferguson was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
In a match against Rajasthan Royals at the D.Y Patil Stadium on April 14, Ferguson delivered one of the most memorable balls of the tournament when he bamboozled a rampaging Jos Buttler with a slower yorker at 126kmph.
Asked about how he executed the plan behind slower yorker for dismissing Buttler, Ferguson explained, “It was a tough moment. Jos Buttler is world-class and he was probably playing the best I’ve ever seen him play at the IPL and making the boundaries look smaller than they were and not even hitting bad balls for six, but hitting the best balls for six. Certainly, with his lap shot, he tends to take out a bit of my strength (pace).”
“But then I just thought I would change pace with the second ball and luckily, the ball got a bit of drift and sort of slid into off stump. So, yeah, always nice to see the back of that guy (laughs). But, I think, the Titans bowled well to him across the tournament and put him under pressure, even in the final. So, collectively as a team, the Gujarat Titans talked about it. Of course, we had some superstars, but we were a team where anyone could stand up and win a game for the team.”
Ferguson, who will be seen for New Zealand in ODIs against Ireland starting from Sunday, pointed out how the Hardik Pandya-led outfit are similar to his national side, the Blackcaps.
“I think for me personally, it’s similar to the Black Caps where we do have superstars of course, but every member of the team can stand up and win the game – that’s the sort of belief we have in our team here. Similarly, with the Gujarat Titans, it was one of the big positives to come out of the tournament.”