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KKR captain downplays much-anticipated contest against Sourav Ganguly’s PWI
By IPL Staff
Kolkata 04 May 2012
As the Kolkata Knight Riders get set to play the Pune Warriors India, the city of Kolkata is ecstatic at the prospect of hosting one of its favourite sons, Sourav Ganguly. Gautam Gambhir, the captain of KKR, on the other hand, preferred to downplay the much-awaited clash, saying it was just another match for his side where they would look to give their 100 percent. Excerpts from Gambhir’s interaction with the media:
On the much-anticipated game against PWI:
For me, it's just another game of cricket. It's only important till a certain extent. To win a game, you need to play well on that given day. We will approach [it] the same way as we have approached all the other games. If we play to our potential, we will be the side to look out for. […] We have got a lot of quality. We should be 100 percent ready to fire and go tomorrow. On KKR’s bowling department:
It's not only the spinners who have done a job for us. [Jacques] Kallis did a tremendous job for us in the last match here. Everyone's done a great job for us. But you need to fire in all the three departments. We have been fielding well. There have been times when we did not bat well, but if you see the overall performance, we have done well in all the three departments. But still, there are a lot of games to go. [I] hope we maintain the momentum.
On what would be a winning score:
I don't know. I don't predict things. If we bat first, we will try to get as many as we can. And if we bowl, then we will try to restrict the opposition. For me, no total is safe or no total is less as well. We need to go out there and play to the potential.
On some of the PWI players struggling with their form:
As I said, we are not playing against individuals; we are playing against a team. If individuals are struggling, that does not make them a lesser force. Any one of them can fire with the ball or bat, and can win the game. If one or two are struggling, it's not going to make any difference. We need to concentrate on what we are doing well. That's how matches are won. Individuals can only contribute. It's the 11 people who contribute and win a game of cricket. Any team can win.
On the injury status of the KKR side:
[We have] no injury worries. All of us are raring to go.
On KKR’s batting concerns:
Let's talk about the team performances rather than the individual ones. KKR is not about Yusuf Pathan, Gautam Gambhir or Jacques Kallis. KKR is about what we have done as a team. I am not concerned with any form or anything. I'm pretty happy with the performance till now and that's what we are looking to do in future as well. On the finishers in the side:
We have got some finishers. We have got a lot of depth in our batting. Someone will get the opportunity to finish the game tomorrow as well. It's not how you start; it's about how you finish as well. On Wasim Akram reportedly having likened the contest to an India-Pakistan encounter:
That's his perspective of tomorrow's game. For me, it's another game of cricket. There is nothing so-called India versus Pakistan. We are playing against Pune Warriors [India] and there is no such rivalry as Pakistan. India and Pakistan is a completely different ball game. It's just the media that is creating the hype. It's Wasim's way of looking at the game tomorrow.
Captains are only as good as its team. Captain does not win games. It's just the planning that they do. It's the 11 men on the field that contribute. [The] Captain can only be successful if you have the people to execute those plans. It can be a failure as well if you don't have the people to execute them.
Gilchrist: It was obviously a very positive week for us. [...] We have won matches against some big teams at big stadiums so that is very pleasing. We have a good vibe around us at the moment, so the challenge for us now is to rectify what we have done [wrong] here in Mohali. We have had one win here, but a few losses. So if we can work out why that is and try and target that area [and improve upon it] that is our next challenge.
On whether there were last over jitters in the match against RCB
Gilchrist: There is always little bit of panic that sets in [in tight situations] and some probably bad decision-making [to add to that]. It was a pretty convincing performance from the team [otherwise] all the way through, and obviously, it would have been frustrating to slip-up at the end. It wasn’t an ideal finish, but we got there. All in all, it was a very positive performance, so we have thought about that. The players involved will think about that, and hopefully, learn from it.
On his fitness status
Gilchrist: I am still progressing. I will train today and keep assessing it. So I am not sure what the situation is for tomorrow, but certainly, I am getting closer to playing [...] I will sort of work it out from training and see how it pulls up tomorrow; and whereas three-four days ago, wasn’t playing, but starting to get back into the picture now. Since the team did well in his absence, how do they work on getting the combinations right once he’s back?
Gilchrist It is a very valid point that you have raised. [But] we will deal with that as soon as I am available for selection and fully fit. [Then] that’s another decision that we need to make and work out what the right balance is. I will not speculate on that any further until I am fully fit and available. Then, we will go through that process. Teams [that have played about] ten games should have a reasonable idea about what their best structure is [...]
On Ryan Harris and KXIP’s bowling department
Gilchrist He is a world-class fast bowler, so it is reinforcing for the team. [...] [But again] what combination you want to go with given the conditions [has to be decided]. I haven’t even looked at the wicket yet. He is certainly a great addition to our squad. Unfortunately, he bowled two good overs for us the other night, got an early wicket, but then hurt [...] his leg so couldn’t bowl again. He is recovering and recovering well.
On batting form
Mandeep Singh: It feels great, but I think I need to improve a lot. I am getting starts in every game so should continue batting long and need to improve a lot.
On whether there is a concentration lapse
Mandeep: I had a concentration lapse in Chennai. I got a little tired because of the heat, but rest of the matches it was good [...].
On their approach for tomorrow’s game. RR was at the top earlier but are now struggling, while KXIP struggled earlier but are having a good run now
Mandeep: We are not concentrating too much on the points table we are just doing the things that we can do and our momentum is going very well. With Azhar [Mahamood] coming in, our team has got good balance. He can score well towards the end and he bowls well too. He is delivering well and with him in the team, it is a big plus for us. [...] All the departments are covered. We are getting good starts and with Nitin [Saini] coming into the team, and he played well in the last game. All of us are contributing really well. So [we] hope to continue and the results will show.
Gilchrist: We are not looking at the points-table with any great interest other than [that] you feel good to see that you are up in the top [half] rather than the bottom [half of the table]. The reality is that Rajasthan Royals beat us in the first game. Every team in this tournament can beat everyone else, so you don’t expect them to be a lesser team because our positions have somewhat reversed in the last week or two. Every game is very important.
On whether there would be a scramble to the reach the playoffs
Though I understand the point of the question, I would sort of question why teams haven’t been scrambling to give their best performance up to this point. You have got to be doing that from Day 1 of the tournament. That was the disappointing thing about our game against Rajasthan [Royals]; [...] we weren’t ready and didn’t snap into action straight away. Reflecting back, we had a bit of lethargic start [...]. So yes, teams are continuing to produce their best in every game. The stakes are getting higher with every game we play. On fielding being their highpoint and whether they have been concentrating on it a bit more
Gilchrist: The name Mike Young can easily be written into that. He is the catalyst. He is the starting point but then [...] the players have got to imbibe what he brings and do the work. [...] Mandeep here is as much of a highlight with the 40 runs that he scored, but there were balls hit at him at extreme pace and he just simply puts up a wall and determined not let it get past. Those three balls could have gone for 12 runs and that can really debilitate a bowling attack and rest in the field. So he is a great example. We had one game where our standards went down a fraction [and] there are always dropped catches. But that is part of cricket. But otherwise, our fielding has been exceptional and I am really impressed by it.
On teams talking about momentum and bowling in the right areas
Gilchrist: It’s just a term like any [other]. [...].It is probably more feeling of spirit with a group and how that is manifesting in and around team. It’s such a high intensity competition that there is very little room for errors and if they cost you a game here and there [that] can really add up; and equally, otherwise a little piece of brilliance can win you a game. [...] It is more about the feeling and positivity around the group, which is obviously higher after a win than after a loss. I would focus on the word ‘momentum’ making sure that when the spirits are high and results are coming your way, you get to carried away, and when it’s low after a couple of defeats, so [it’s] negative. You try not to hit the bottom and maintain a steady groove. [...]