Thursday, April 26, 2012
| Exclusive Interviews
Franklin, finally making his game count
IF not for untimely injuries that stifled his international career, James Franklin had looked set to make the world his stage playing international cricket for New Zealand. He was barely in his teens when injuries in the New Zealand team hurried his international debut but had to continuously struggle with a spate of injuries that kept him at the bay.
Now, with Mumbai Indians, the 31-year-old allrounder is finally making his game count. He has played a role to stabilize the team's innings and whenever needed hav e stepped up the run count hitting the ball in park.
At peace with what his career had in store for him, Franklin today is a resourceful overseas cricketer for Mumbai Indians. Useful medium-pace, which was his first love, coupled with some audacious strokeplay, on which he worked very hard, make Franklin a force to reckon with in the Indian Premier League. “I am enjoying my stint with Mumbai Indians and it has helped me instil a great amount of confidence in my abilities,” says Franklin.
His half century on Sunday against Kings XI Punjab may have ended in a losing cause but it was a fine effort from Franklin, coming in as an opener alongside Sachin Tendulkar. He waited till the opposition allowed him to settle down and from there on he unleashed an impressive array of strokes to help his team reach 163.
“The ball wasn’t coming on well and the wicket was slow. But we made a cautious start and I think we did pretty well,” he said. “We were looking at a total of around 160 to 165 when we won the toss and elected to bat,” he says. Another 20 runs perhaps, in hindsight, would’ve kept the team in very good stead.
But confidence is what Franklin derived from the match and he expects do put it to great deal of use as the tournament progresses.
Having made his international debut for New Zealand, confidence was the biggest factor that troubled him. And that was because it was an injury-strewn career that kept gnawing at him. “Injuries keep happening in any sport when you’re at the highest level of competition. I have no regrets,” he says. This coming from a bowler-turned-batsman who struck an impressive 122 in 2006 against South Africa in Cape Town, partnering his skipper Stephen Fleming in a 256-run stand, and rightfully claiming his place as a potential allrounder for New Zealand.
For Mumbai Indians, it is this experience and his abilities as an allrounder that has been of great value. Franklin has, either with the ball or the bat, come to the need of his franchise whenever the situation has demanded and his assault on Kings XI Punjab was another such instance.
As the tournament carries on, Franklin expects to keep contributing wherever possible.
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