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'Told David Warner he'll be Man of Tournament in World Cup months ago'

KK Jiyas has known David Warner for a long time - having been on 7 tours with the Australian team, as well as with the SRH squad in the IPL. Long enough to know he would be the Man of the Tournament in the T20 World Cup.

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KK Jiyas has been an integral part of the Australian cricket team's set-up over the last few years (Facebook/KKJiyas)


Dipankar Lahiri

Updated: 2021-11-15T13:13:05+05:30

David Warner was waving the Sunrisers Hyderabad flag during a match in IPL 2021 from the stands when his honourary Australian teammate KK Jiyas thought he should say something to cheer him up. The Kochi-based Jiyas, who has been on seven tours with the Australian cricket team over the last five years, helping their batsmen improve against spin, has known Warner for long enough to know that being dropped from the playing XI would not be sitting with him well.

"I remember Warner was with us in the stadium after being dropped from the SRH playing XI. I told him, 'Don't worry Davey, you will be the Man of the Tournament in the World Cup. You're working hard, we can all see that. Don't worry about the IPL, this World Cup will be your stage.'" said Jiyas, who was with the SRH team as a net bowler earlier this year.
Jiyas, who returned home to Kochi from the IPL bio-bubble because the ICC did not approve his inclusion in the Australian contingent due to Covid protocol during the World Cup, said he enjoyed watching Sunday's World Cup final immensely - but what he loved best was his prophecy to Warner coming true.
"After India's exit, I was completely rooting for Australia this time. The Aussie dressing room has been like family for me. I messaged some of them last night, saying I missed them all. Some of them replied, some were too busy having a blast to find the time so far - I know exactly what they would be doing (chuckles). I am proud of Justin Langer for the sort of atmosphere he has created within the team, taking the team forward from the controversies from two years ago," said Jiyas.
Jiyas, apart from helping Australian batsmen work on their feet movement and their wrist position, also seems to have worked as a lucky charm for Australia. Mitchell Marsh, the other Australian in the original SRH squad, was the other star player for the champions in the final, proving his critics wrong.
Even the Australian team have proved many wrong in winning the World Cup, after some had written them off for their poor form in the last few years. They last won a T20I series in February 2020, against South Africa, since then losing five consecutive series, including against Bangladesh and West Indies. However, Jiyas said results do not tell the whole story.
"If you look at the Bangladesh tour, the seaming wickets made it difficult for the visitors. Even New Zealand could not adapt to those conditions and lost in Bangladesh. Bit if you look at the bigger picture, Australia have been training very hard for the last two years for the big tournaments like the World Cup.
Jiyas, the taxi driver's son from Kerala, is yet to play a senior match in India's domestic cricket, despite having being used as a net bowler since 2013 and having broken through the IPL circuit in 2015. But he now has a rare feat for an Indian cricketer - a honourary World Cup title to boast of.
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