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KKR spinner says Gambhir’s support is helping him in IPL 2012
By Hoshedar N. Gundevia
Pune 23 May 2012
The USD 700,000 that Shah Rukh Khan and co. forked out for the services of Sunil Narineseem like a sound investment. The 23-year-old spinner has been in stellar form in IPL 2012. His 24 wickets have gone a long way in helping the Kolkata Knight Riders reach their maiden IPL final. Be it taking wickets or having a low economy rate, Narine has proven himself to be worthy of the purple and gold jersey of the Kolkata Knight Riders.
The Trinidadian now faces his biggest challenge in the IPL final, but the off-spinner is not at all daunted by the task that lies ahead. Instead, he looks forward to pitting his wits against his eventual opponents at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
Excerpts from a brief interaction with Sunil Narine:
Debut season in the IPL and already in the final. What is the feeling like?
I am privileged to come in and play in the IPL and reach the final. I hope that boys can take it as a stepping stone and finish it off good.
Being KKR’s top wicket-taker must give you confidence heading into the final?
I think I have a lot of confidence at this moment and it makes it a lot easier for the captain as he can throw the ball to me with confidence. Captain having confidence in me gives me more confidence. Do you feel batsmen are more defensive while playing you?
I think it’s according to the situation. If a run-a-ball is good for the team, I don’t mind bowling the way I bowl. But if we need wickets, then I try my best to get wickets. Hopefully, I can continue taking wickets for my captain. What’s it like playing with fellow spinners Shakib Al Hasan and Iqbal Abdulla?
I think we have a good combination and we are utilizing what we have. It’s on the captain and the support staff to pick the right team, and we have to go and perform. What sort of a relationship do you share with KKR co-owner Shah Rukh Khan?
He is a good owner and he just comes to the team meeting and lets the cricket staff do what they have to. That is the best thing he can do at the moment. Have you become more confident under Gautam Gambhir’s captaincy?
When a captain has belief in you that makes it a lot easier for you to have more belief in yourself. When the team is winning, everything is okay, and hopefully, we can continue and one more game to win, and hopefully, we can put everything out.
Do you see DD making the finals?
T20 is a game of plenty differences and whoever plays better cricket on the day will come out victorious.
KKR wicketkeeper-batsman praises skipper for bringing the best out of his team
By Hoshedar N. Gundevia
Pune 23 May 2012
Striving for excellence is a trait common to all IPL teams. Although the Kolkata Knight Ridershave underachieved in the past four seasons of the IPL, their days playing second fiddle are over. The IPL 2012 final will see the Knight Riders take the field at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium, since the Gautam Gambhir-led side defeated the high-flyingDelhi Daredevilsin the first qualifier.
KKR ace Brendon McCullumhas had his fair share of positive moments in the past, but the Kiwi is now excited about KKR’s potential after they qualified for their first ever IPL final. The journey to getting a shot at glory has been arduous for KKR. However, McCullum believes that the team has evolved under Gambhir’s captaincy and will continue to do so in the future. With the main event awaiting KKR on May 27, McCullum is confident of putting on a show worthy of a grand finale. Excerpts from an interaction with Brendon McCullum after KKR’s 18-run win over DD in the first qualifier:
What does it mean for KKR to reach the IPL final for the first time?
It’s great. It’s been a tough last couple of years, and this year, we have been good so far. There is one big game to go, and hopefully, we turn up on the day and play the best cricket we have played right through the season. Do you feel that you got out at the wrong time?
In this game, playing at the top order you try to get from 30 to 50 quite quickly and that’s how you get big scores, by doing so. Good thing is that we have got some depth in our batting and Yusuf Pathan and [Laxmi Ratan] Shukla came in at the right time. You would probably say that it was a good result by me getting out.
Does opening with Gautam Gambhir give you added confidence as a batsman?
He has got his plan incredibly well at the moment. He has been hitting the ball as well as anyone in the tournament. I from the other end try to give him strike that is probably the reverse of the roles what we thought of at the start of the tournament. Can’t take credit of the partnerships where he has played beautifully and made my work easy, and I just try to hang in around and get him on strike.
Are you backing your spinners to shine on the Chennai track?
It is also known to be reasonable pace wicket at times; we just have to wait to see what we get. We have got balance in our squad on both fast and spinning wickets. We have got good luxury there and owners have done well to pick up the right balance in the team. We are going to go in there with a bit of momentum and a bit of confidence. We have to play extremely well to lift the cup.
Does it matter who you face in the final?
This time I have seen, all teams can beat any team on a given day and the teams in the finals [playoffs] right now have got match-winners and well-balanced line-ups. Regardless who it is, we will have to play extremely well. No preference, we know that we will have to play our best game. Has Gautam Gambhir’s captaincy impressed you?
I think he is an outstanding leader. He is very softspoken in the changing room and around the group and on the field he leads through performance and through actions. Technically, he has been very good and has used Sunil Narine incredibly well and he has got a lot out of the other guys as well. He has been excellent as a captain so far.
How has the franchise evolved over the years?
The franchise is maturing a little bit and we have got some players who have matured over the last few years. Indian guys have really come on in the last few years and are playing some key roles for us. I think that’s probably why we are right at the moment and that’s why we are seeing the results.
How has the support staff helped the team in reaching the final?
Rudy [Webster] often thinks in his own way and some guys utilize it more than others. We have got Wasim Akram; and Trevor Bayliss has been outstanding as a coach. We have got some experienced international players, which gives us a nice balance and nice calm presence right throughout the dressing room.
How difficult has it been for you to keep wicket this season?
It’s been a completely different role behind the stumps than what I am used to back home. I completely enjoy this as I am always in the game. And we have got some spinners and I was a bit lucky with the stumping today. It’s one of those wickets [Pune], which I find really tough to keep on as it is bit two-paced and it keeps low. Just try to grab the opportunities I get and make a contribution with the gloves.