Captain Adam Gilchrist on Wednesday rallied Paul Valthaty to continue his rich run of form when the Kings XI Punjab meet the Rajasthan Royals in Thursday’s Indian Premier League clash.
Valthaty cranked a whirlwind 120 not out – the third highest score in IPL history – against the Chennai Super Kings and followed that up with a blistering 75 against the Deccan Chargers.
While title holders Chennai and former champions Deccan struggled to remove the big-hitting 27-year-old across last week, Gilchrist has warned his team-mate that the Royals attack will have plans in place to dismiss the right-hander early and challenged him to combat the opposition accordingly.
“The last two knocks Paul has played can go on par with the most great innings in T20 cricket and that has been obviously pleasing for us and extremely pleasing for him.” enthused Gilchrist.
“There is a long tournament to go and other teams are watching him with interest and probably already planning against him. But for the moment, things are going on very well for him because he has handled it with calmness.
“He worked hard in our camp in the pre-tournament practice matches. The most important feature of Paul has been his calmness and his ability to handle the interest that is suddenly coming his way.”
Shaun Marsh, meanwhile, has insisted he will be happy to again take a back seat to the big-hitting exploits of Valthaty come Thursday’s encounter with Rajasthan.
Having opened the batting for the Kings XI Punjab in their IPL opener, which they lost to Pune, the Australian left-hander has since batted down the order in the wins over Chennai and Deccan.
Valthaty’s promotion to the top of the knock has left Marsh to bide his time in the middle-order and this precedent is set to continue against Shane Warne’s Royals.
“Paul is batting really well this season and he is a fantastic player. He has done well for the Punjab team in the last two games. He put us in a winning position in the last two games. I am looking forward towards watching him bat again,” Cricket365