Hardik Pandya Laid-Back but a Strong Character, Ashish Nehra a Special Coach to Work With: Gujarat Titans Seamer Joshua Little Apextalk

On December 23 in 2022, Ireland seamer Joshua Little was following the IPL mini-auction on a YouTube stream. The 23-year-old had enrolled his name and was hoping to attract a bid after a solid show for his country in the 2022 edition of the T20 World Cup. The left-armer was very sharp with the new ball and also picked up a hat-trick in the tournament.

Orange Cap Holder IPL 2023: See the Full List Here

When his name came up and bidding war commenced between Lucknow Supergiants and Gujarat Titans, Josh was “very delighted” and it well and truly became “the day he will never forget”. The seamer, after serving as net bowler for a few weeks in the Chennai Super Kings camp last season, became the first Irish player to play in the IPL when GT picked him at the auction.

Josh’s two younger sisters – Louise and Hannah – also play cricket for Ireland and the seamer hopes to make them proud and is keeping his fingers crossed with regards to their participation in the next edition of Women’s Premier League. In an exclusive conversation with News18 CricketNext from Ahmedabad, where the team is enjoying some time off, the Irishman talks about his IPL journey so far, working with the likes of Ashish Nehra and Hardik Pandya and also revisited the Rinku Singh carnage the other night. Edited excerpts:

From Dublin to Ahmedabad, it’s been a long journey for you. How has it been?

Yeah, it’s been good. I have been here for nearly a month now. I came for a training camp for ten days or so before we started the IPL. Settled in nicely and got to know everyone. Got underway few weeks ago.

Purple Cap Holder IPL 2023: See the Full List Here

How mood in the camp is like for you? How easily did you gel in with a captain like Hardik Pandya, coach like Ashish Nehra and mentor like Gary Kirsten?

One of the things we preach as a franchise is laid back attitude and sort of the enjoyment factor in the way we play our cricket. So it’s been very warm and welcoming. And has been very easy to settle into such a great group.

Playing in front of packed stands at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad would have been one-of-a-kind experience for you, isn’t it?

It’s one of the biggest stadium in the world, I think. So to see it all packed out and hear all the screaming fans is pretty special. It’s an experience you won’t find in many places in the world. Definitely an experience to remember.

You have played The Hundred, Pakistan Super League, SA20 before playing the IPL. What’s the biggest difference between the leagues you played and the IPL?

The biggest difference is the standard of cricket. It’s probably the highest and close to international cricket, if not better. Obviously the crowds are bigger and just things like the amount of travel and amount of games close by is something that you don’t find in many competitions. This (IPL) goes on for two months. Everything else is usually a month.

GT captain Hardik Pandya (left) with Josh Little. (Pic Credit: Sportzpics)

How has Indian food been like? Enjoying the jalebi and fafda in Ahmedabad?

I enjoy Indian food, so having no issues there. I am eating three times a day so that’s good. Me and my girlfriend are both enjoying it.

Personally, how has the season been so far? You have bowled well with the new ball but leaked runs on occasions too.

The season has been good but like you said it’s been up and down. Somethings haven’t gone my way and there have been times where I have been happy. So it’s about making a more consistent show of myself. Other than that I am very happy.

You have a very cricket-heavy family with your little sisters playing the sport too. How is the mood back home with you playing the biggest cricket league in the world?

From the day I was picked, my whole family was pretty excited for me considering I am the first Irish player to be involved. So that was pretty special for them. My two sisters play for Ireland as well and I suppose look up to me in that way. I guess be proud of me as well. So my family is pretty happy and my parents are coming over next week.

Could we see the Little sisters in the Women’s Premier League’s next season?

They both are pretty young and talented and you never know which way this game can go. All you need is one good season and then you are in the mix. Fingers crossed!

You played international cricket before even turning 17. Had a brilliant T20 World Cup last year where you kept the likes of England and Australia quiet and also picked a hat-trick in the tournament. You reckon the international form gave you the confidence ahead of IPL?

Last year was my breakthrough season. Things went well for me. Being picked up in the IPL was obviously a dream come true. Hopefully I can show that form later on in the competition.

IPL 2023 Points Table: Check Team Standings, Team Points, Wins, Losses

A bidding war between LSG and GT, and Little goes to GT for Rs 4.4 crore. Were you expecting that price?

No. I don’t think anyone could every really expect the big price. I was actually just watching from home on youtube stream and then my name came up and it (bidding price) kept on going up. So I was very delighted and it was a day I will never forget.

It’s very fascinating to watch Ashish Nehra’s discussions with players even when the match is on. How has it been working with him since you both are left-armers?

Like you said, both left-arm seamers and he is very very passionate about the game. And takes every second he can to share his knowledge with me. He pulls me aside every training session for 5-10 minutes and talks about plans, fields. He has been invaluable and a special coach to work with just because of his passion and knowledge of the game.

And with Hardik Pandya?

A very laid-back character but a strong character too. Two things which go hand in hand and you can see that on the cricket pitch too.

Off late, we are seeing participation from smaller international teams increasing in the IPL. In your team only, you made your debut and then we saw Noor Ahmed from Afghanistan make his debut vs Rajasthan Royals as an Impact Player.

Yes, I think it’s down to the exposure. All teams are getting more game time in the international circuit and showcasing what talent these teams have. Couple of years ago, we would have been lucky to even get looked at during a World Cup, which is once every two years. Now, we are getting constant cricket all year around which gives us the opportunity to show the talent we have.

You were a net-bowler with CSK last season but couldn’t get the game time you wanted. Happy to finally make it?

I was in the CSK camp last year as net bowling thinking gosh I would love to be playing and that was my main driving factor to go back home, work hard and hopefully be picked up this year. Thankfully, I was.

One thing/skill you would like to add to your repertoire before the season ends?

I think just developing my game as a whole. If I can go home 1%, 2% better than I came, that’s a win. Nothing specific, just everything as a whole.

How has the season been overall for Gujarat Titans so far? You have lost two out of five and even the two losses were games firmly in your control.

We spoke last night and we said we should have won all five games. We were on top for all five games and it was our fault to let it slip away. The mood in the camp hasn’t changed, we still are very positive about the cricket we are playing and it’s about correcting those little things and make sure we are better at getting across the line.

Just taking you back to that fixture against KKR and that freak innings by Rinku Singh. How was it to be in the opposite camp that night?

It was one of those innings you see once or twice in your liftetime. We have seen Carlos Brathwaite in the T20 World Cup and then we saw Rinku. Two very special innings and I may not see something like that ever in my life. Hat’s off to him.

Any conversation you had with Yash Dayal after that night?

I just said to him that I have had days like that as well. It doesn’t change who you are as a cricketer or person. The sun will come up tomorrow and you just get back to work. So, it’s that simple. It may take time to get over but he is still a great bowler, had a great season last year so nothing changes there.

Get the latest Cricket News, IPL 2023 Live Score, Orange Cap and Purple Cap holder details here

Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *