Albert Tuti Patriots pace spearhead L Balaji spoke to the press after their team won their opening game against the Chepauk Super Gillies by 45 runs.

How does it feel to be bowling in a T20 match in Chepauk again?

First of all, I have to congratulate the crowd and the people of Chennai. You guys have done a great job and it was a great opening. It is such a big platform for all the youngsters and they will take away something from this. It’s great. I made my first-class debut on this ground and made my comeback during the first year with CSK here. This ground has given me great memories and this is a good start for us. Hopefully we’ll continue to play like this.

Could you share a few words about Akash Sumra?

Akash Sumra bowled well as did Aushik Shrinivas. They both took three wickets. Everyone chipped in; it showed the team’s intent to get wickets. The wicket never looked like one that would just restrict runs but we constantly looked to pick wickets. I think it’s very important in T20; the bowler plays a huge role. That’s how the balance is maintained. Akash Sumra played his role really well and gave us a breakthrough and he’s a wonderful all-rounder. So we’re looking forward to him contributing some runs in the lower order as well, you will see.

What were your thoughts on the fielding and a few missed catches?

You would expect this definitely because these guys have never played under lights. This is the first experience so that is a huge moment for all these youngsters. They’re not all used to this. Hopefully, they will get used to playing in this sort of a tournament. They’ll get used to the conditions and the atmosphere.

What were your thoughts on the hat-trick ball?

I didn’t actually know that it was a hat-trick ball to be honest. I look at the twenty-four balls to be constructive wicket taking balls. Every ball you should create a wicket-taking opportunity. Even if you bowl a defensive line, there has to be a plan to take a wicket. My intent always is that I am constantly looking to take wickets. That’s how you improve as a bowler. Sometimes it comes off; sometimes it doesn’t. The intent always remains the same. The bowling unit really adapted to the intent and they adapted really well to get the key moments in our favour. That was a huge difference. I’ll try and see if it’s possible to get a hat-trick in the upcoming matches.

The batting was heavily reliant on Dinesh Karthik today. How will you manage in his absence?

This is the first game again. They will evolve around this partnership which they can improve on in the next game. Kaushik started really well and Washington is our really promising talent, he also started really well. It is about extending that partnership in the game so that we have the depth and firepower to come back later in the innings and to go after the bowlers. They did a great job. They stuck to a plan, didn’t give easy wickets and kept rotating the strike. At one stage they were going at seven or eight runs an over. Keeping wickets is very important and in that aspect I really appreciate the boys who kept the wickets. Dinesh, of course, being an experienced guy, handled the situation really well with the youngsters.

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