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KKR’s match-winner also thanks SRK for having confidence in him
By Hoshedar N. Gundevia
Chennai 28 May 2012
Largely unnoticed in the IPL this season, Kolkata Knight Riders’ wicketkeeper, Manvinder Bisla, chose the perfect occasion to stand up and be counted. The right-hander’s 89-run knock gave the Knights a new lease of life after skipper Gautam Gambhir’s early wicket. Bisla shocked the Chennai Super Kings’ bowlers with his grace and attacking intent, which eventually bore fruit in the form of the IPL 2012 title. An opportunity was all that he required, and the 27-year-old delivered with aplomb against the Super Kings.
Bisla’s masterful innings turned out to be the highlight of the final, but the right-hander refused to take all the credit. Instead, he emphasised the importance of Jacques Kallis’ contribution. Excerpts from Bisla’s chat with iplt20.com:
Where did that knock come from?
I was working hard in the nets but I was not getting a chance as Brendon [McCullum] was playing really well. Today, we had to change the team because of Lakshmipathy Balaji’s injury, and I am happy that I got a chance and I did it for the team.
With the required rate so high, did you feel any pressure while batting?
There was no pressure on me and I like hitting. But it got a little tense for us after Gautam got out as he has been scoring so many runs for us. I held my shape and with some help from Jacques [Kallis], I did it.
Reaching the target without Gautam Gambhir says a lot about the team.
The way Gautam has been hitting, looks very good from outside and he has been batting like a legend. How did Kallis help you in your innings?
Jacques is a legend and it’s a treat to watch him. He does not mistime a single ball, and playing with him is very good. Shah Rukh Khan has always praised you and you were the guy who made it happen today.
SRK had a lot of faith in me and he always pushed me and gave me confidence to do well. I am thankful to God that we did it today.
When the Kolkata Knight Riderspaid a whopping USD 2.4 million in the 2011 IPL Players Auction for Gautam Gambhir, several eyes popped out and eyebrows were raised. Gambhir was neither a ballistic giant like Chris Gayle nor did he have the Midas touch of MS Dhoni. Why would a team spend a fortune on a diminutive opening batsman with more skill than power and without much experience in a leadership role? Two years thence, the answer is here. KKR’s pocket-sized powerhouse has led them to something that they’ve been craving for since the last five years – the IPL crown.
Since his appointment as KKR’s captain, Gambhir has voiced his desire to bring joy to the City of Joy. And he has brought beaming smiles on the faces of the people of Kolkata by leading their team from the front. Despite being KKR’s highest run-getter with 590 runs in the tournament and marshalling his troops wisely, as a team man, Gambhir refuses to bask in self-glory.
After leading KKR to a win over the Chennai Super Kingsin the IPL 2012 final, Gambhir took time out to share his thoughts with iplt20.com. While being modest about his own contributions, Gambhir eulogised his team for showing great heart.
How would you describe this victory?
We wanted to prove this point to everyone that a captain is only as good as his team, and it’s the team that has done the job for us.
You were really pumped up after the win. Was it the ecstasy of the victory?
This is what you play cricket for. The entire odds were against us. We were playing CSK in their own backyard and they were the defending champions. From day one, I have been saying that KKR is not about one or two individuals, it’s about all of us sitting in the dugout and in the dressing room. We proved the point to the country that KKR is not about ‘me’, it’s about ‘we’. What was the talk in the dressing room after the first innings?
If someone can get 190 against our bowling attack, it obviously is a very good wicket to bat on as we have done a fantastic job throughout the tournament with the ball. We always thought we could chase that target. People were talking a lot about our middle order, saying it hasn’t clicked but they showed it when it mattered the most. After [Manvinder] Bisla, I think Manoj [Tiwary] is the actual hero, because I have always said that it’s not about the start, it’s how you finish; Manoj finished it perfectly for us. Was there anything that the team did differently this time around after coming close in the last season?
It’s never about coming close – you either win or lose. There are no greys, its either black or white; and that is how I have lived my life. In the last season, we didn’t play as well as we should have, and this year, we were determined to take the side all the way. I have always said that we are the side to look out for, and that is what we have shown today. Who would you dedicate this victory to?
Today, I was playing for L Balaji. He has been our unsung hero; [he] missed out in this crucial match due to injury, that too in front of his home crowd. I personally wanted to do this for him and he deserves all of this.
Does captaincy bring out the best in you?
I don’t know. I think it’s the successful team that makes a successful captain and not vice a versa.