Kolkata Knight Riders zeroing in on Warner

Published: Monday, December 8, 2008, 15:07 [IST]
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Sydney: In form New South Wales batsman David Warner has caught the attention of Indian Premier League scouts, and could turn out for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the second season of the Twenty20 competition next year.

Warner has blasted Tasmania for 165 not out (from 112 balls) and 97 (from 54 balls) over the past eight days - the latter innings contributing to NSW''s thrilling tie with the Tigers at Bellerive Oval yesterday.

Despite Warner leaving NSW sitting pretty at 2-125 after 16.2 overs, the Blues went from exciting to excruciating to tie the match against a seriously depleted Tigers attack, finishing with 7-291.

The powerful batsman revealed after the game that his agent was holding discussions with officials from the Kolkata, Delhi and Deccan IPL franchises. Kolkata have already signed Moises Henriques in the past week and appear the early favourites to snare the services of Warner.

The 22-year-old batting phenomenon has greatly impressed Blues coach Matthew Mott who, with his dual role as Kolkata assistant coach, has reported back to his Indian franchise with glowing scouting reports.

"I guess I am just in the right spot to advise them," Mott said.

"David has obviously played some very special knocks recently, and there is a fair bit of interest. He initially fell under Kolkata's radar when [head coach] John Buchanan saw him batting in the nets at the Centre of Excellence. He is obviously a pretty unique talent, and there is a fair bit of a buzz about him," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted him, as saying.

Warner yesterday fell marginally short of the record for the fastest Australian domestic one-day century, but not even a contentious lbw decision could halt the excited chatter around Bellerive Oval.

Under IPL guidelines, Warner must be rated among a franchise's top-10 players to land a contract as a foreign import. That, in itself, would be a remarkable achievement, given he has played just eight one-day and seven Twenty20 games for NSW and has yet to make his first class debut.

But an IPL deal seems inevitable, and Mott believes a Cricket Australia-contract might also be in the offing, particularly with the Twenty20 World Cup to be held in England next year.

"He's an incredibly dynamic player, and people obviously love that he can hit with both hands," Mott said. "He''s also a brilliant fieldsman, and can bowl leggies. I would be very surprised if he wasn''t already on Cricket Australia''s radar."



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