“I’m a soldier by profession. The salute is to show respect to the Jamaica Defence Force. Hopefully, there will be many salute celebrations in the coming weeks,” Cottrell told TOI from Dubai, where he is in the middle of his six-day quarantine.
Cottrell, 31, was picked by Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) for Rs 8.5 crore in the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction. With Rs 50 lakh base price, Cottrell triggered an intense bidding war between Rajasthan Royals, KXIP and Delhi Capitals, with Kings finally winning the bid.
“It is one of the biggest T20 tournaments in the world, and it is every professional cricketer’s dream to play in it. The high quality of talent overall and the intense competition for spots is second to none. This will be my first IPL, and I am excited to hit the ground running for Kings XI Punjab,” said the left-handed pacer.
Cottrell accepted the fact that the high auction amount will add pressure, but said he relishes challenges. “I won’t be honest if I will say there won’t be pressure on me, but I believe I work well under pressure. I am the type of person that’ll put in 110 per cent on the field,” he said.
Cottrell is among those who will come to IPL with game time under their belts. The West Indian quick represented St Kitts & Nevis Patriots in the recently concluded Caribbean Premier League (CPL). The CPL pitches were not conducive for fast bowling as Cottrell only managed to take five wickets in seven games. He will face similar conditions in UAE where surfaces are likely to favour the spinners more.
“I am an attacking bowler. My role as a fast bowler is to take wickets up front and restrict the opponents to a lower total in the back end. Cricket has evolved so much in the past few years that I don’t think conditions matter anymore. My job is to deliver, it is as simple as that,” he said.
In CPL, Cottrell had a few ‘fan boy moments’ when he got to work with his idol, Courtney Walsh. The former West Indian cricketer was the bowling coach of St Kitts & Nevis Patriots, and Cottrell made the most of it.
“It was the first time when I had the opportunity to sit down with the great man. It was a fruitful few weeks with him; I tried to pick his brain as much as I could,” said Cottrell.
Interestingly, Courtney Walsh saw Cottrell’s bowling in one of the club games and mentioned his name in one of his interviews to a news article. “It was surreal. I had no clue that he saw my bowling. The next day, when I saw he mentioned my name in the national newspaper, I immediately framed it. I still have that article,” recollected Cottrell.
Cottrell will face tough competition with Chris Jordan for the second seamer spot in the KXIP team. “Look, with Shami (Mohammed), Jordan (Chris), and myself, we have got a vastly experienced seam attack. The playing XI decision depends upon the coach and the captain before the match,” he said.
However, Cottrell might have the upper hand because he bowls yorkers with the new and the old ball. “For me, it is much easier to bowl yorkers with the new ball as you get a bit of swing too. It also brings a surprise element. It is difficult with the old ball, because at the back end of the innings, batsmen want to slog every bowl out of the park, so the error margin is very less,” he said.