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An interview with Andrew Tye

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Andrew_Tye_Australia_IPL_Kings_XI_Punjab_CricketWhen Australia's Andrew Tye was clinching his maiden five-for in an ODI against England in February, thousands of kilometres away in India, Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) were bidding for him. The Punjab franchise bought him for a whopping price of INR 7 crore - a price that was shocking for a 31-year-old bowler who was hardly four years into the game.

The 2018 edition of the IPL is Tye's second stint in the tournament after he made his IPL debut last year for Gujarat Lions.

In conversation with HoldingWilley, Tye takes us through his journey from a pitch curator to an international cricketer, his IPL debut, his new club KXIP and more.

The last time Tye was in India, 2017, he was a part of the Australian T20I squad. The three-T20I series ended in a draw after both the sides won a match and the decider was washed out. Tye, who picked up only one wicket in those two matches, was initially picked because of his stint with Gujarat Lions. In the six matches he played for Gujarat, he took 12 wickets - the most among his team's bowlers – including a hat-trick against Mumbai Indians.

Tye is among those overseas cricketers who have good memories in India and always looked forward to returning. On being asked how it felt to be back in India, Tye said, "Oh, it's sweet. It's a wonderful place, great fun and I have a lot of friends here. I made my IPL debut here last year and I also went on to bag a hat-trick, so it's good to come back here and re-live that memory.

"I remember we lost the first two games pretty badly so the way I played, took wickets and won GL their first match of the tournament [IPL 2017], the effort paid off and it was awesome," he said, reminiscing about his IPL debut.

Had he been expecting a whopping price for himself in IPL 2018 auction? "Honestly speaking, I didn't expect that. In fact, I was a bit shocked. I expected to be picked for some couple of hundred of lakh, which is 100,000 AUD."

Did the hefty price tag add pressure on him to deliver this season? "No, not all. That does not bring any pressure on me. Irrespective of the price, I'll do what I have been doing. You always try and do the best for your team, doesn’t matter how much you get paid. The club is paying me that money because they really wanted me as I’ll fit in well in their team. I'll try and do justice to the money by doing what I do best and try to have some fun too on the cricket ground."

Kings XI played their first match of IPL 2018 against Delhi Daredevils, which they won by six wickets, but Tye did not have a great outing in Punjab. He was a bit expensive, giving away 38 runs in his four overs without a wicket. Since it was just the beginning of the tournament, Tye did not give it too much thought.

"There were three or four balls that went for boundaries. The one I remember was the full toss to Dan Christen [sic] that went for a six. So, I don't think it was completely a bad start and I have not thought about it a lot after the match."

Talking about his bowling coach in Punjab, Venkatesh Prasad, Tye said, “He gives me the required insights. He has just stressed on the execution of a few deliveries but he has said there is nothing major wrong about me right now. It's just a little bit extra practice that is required for me."

How does he cope with the bitter truth that T20 is more of a batsman's game? "It's always been a batsman's game. So, being a bowler, you need to find your way out and try doing something different. It is challenging; one must keep the batsmen's shots in mind and think of the different deliveries you could bowl to them and set the field accordingly. Basically, we have to keep thinking outside the box."

Tye certainly practices what he preaches. After a slow start in the first match, he bettered his numbers and opened his account when Punjab locked horns with Royal Challengers Bangalore. Tye, ended with one wicket: the big fish, AB de Villiers. The South African looked in great touch. While he was at crease, it was a stroll for the hosts.

However, Tye bowled a short ball that was cut in the air only to be caught at deep point. From there on, Bangalore needed 10 off 11 and, it could have been anybody's game. The luck was on the locals’ side as even that breakthrough was not enough to stop Bangalore from winning.

These are just initial setbacks for Tye and Punjab. The Australian thinks the side is in the right frame of mind at the moment. On the environment for the Punjab boys, Tye said, “We have a great environment here in the team. It's a good mix of young talent and some experienced faces and we have a lots of fun together. It includes a lot of jokes around, bonding sessions and an open environment."

Speaking of Punjab's mentor, Virender Sehwag, Tye said, "It's great having Sehwag on board. I have not interacted much with him but he has regular sessions with the batsmen, he is a legend and having him with us is very helpful for our team."

Did it help that Punjab's head coach is fellow Aussie Brad Hodge? "He was my coach last year as well in Gujarat Lions so I have a pretty good relationship with him. We get along really well. He is always looking for different ways to make everyone comfortable in the squad, he is fantastic leader."

U-turns in Tye's career:

Having spent years toiling away in Perth's grade cricket and some league cricket in England in the winters, by late 2012, Tye was sure that his cricketing career was finished even before it really took off. He returned home from an 18-month stint in the UK and was focused on putting his life on track. He realized that although he enjoyed playing cricket all year, between Australia and England, at some point of time he had to stop.

"I came back from England from playing club cricket for a year there—and when I returned; I did not really have a gig. I went for our club opening dinner; there I was asked if I wanted to be the club curator. I said yes and from there on I started to lay wickets for my club.

"Soon after that, Justin Langer took over Western Australia as their head coach, while I was still curating. He invited a lot of club cricketers to bowl in the net for Perth Scorchers. I soon started playing for the BBL side, then Western Australia before I was finally given my national debut,"

Tye, like Australian spinner Nathan Lyon, went from a pitch curator to an international cricketer.

Tye made his Australia debut in 2016, and the same year he bowled the final over in three T20Is - one against India and two against Sri Lanka - all of which Australia lost. Since 2017, however, Tye has become the go-to bowler in death overs for whichever team he represents in T20s. He has got three T20 hat-tricks in 2017 — two in BBL and one in IPL — and is the only bowler to achieve such a record in a calendar year.

"All that is a part of the game. My first seven matches for Australia were not very good ones. Every time you get out there, either you bowl good or bad, you definitely will learn some lesson. It's important how you correct those mistakes and that’s the way how it is supposed to be. So, you really just go try and focus on what you can do. If you execute it 100% well and you still get hit for a boundary, then there is not much you can do."

Tye made his First-Class debut at an age of 28 in 2014. On being asked if Test cricket is not his priority at the moment, he said, "Test cricket is always the priority, you know. It's the highest you can get as a cricketer. I'm just into my fourth year of cricket. Whether I'm going to play it ever or not, I really don't know but I have not given up my hopes of playing it someday. I would like to stick to the plan - keep working harder."

 

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