I play to win, not to compete: Gambhir

KKR skipper emphasises the need to be aggressive ahead of big final against CSK

By Hoshedar N Gundevia
Chennai 26 May 2012
The IPL 2012 final is all set to be a battle between the seasoned big-game pros and the eager first-timers. The Kolkata Knight Riders will walk out as equals for the first time in the biggest match of the IPL calendar. KKR is a team moulded in the reflection of its skipper, Gautam Gambhir. The southpaw has not only led from the front with the bat, but has also ensured that the team stays united through thick and thin.

Awaiting the franchise’s biggest test till date, Gambhir is keen to prove his side’s mettle in the crunch encounter on Sunday. The KKR skipper minced no words in the pre-match captains’ press conference where he emphasised the need to play with aggression in order to topple the mighty Chennai Supeer Kings.

Excerpts from Gautam Gambhir’s pre-match press conference.

On the contrast between his on and off-field demeanour

I don’t know what the real Gaum Gambhir is like. When you go out on the field, you don’t go out to make friends. You go out to get results for your teams. And for that if I have to be aggressive on the field [so be it]. That’s what I play cricket for; I play to win the game and not just to compete. So, on the field if I have to be aggressive at times, I have to be. If I can rub that energy off on the other 10 players, and I have always maintained that it’s the 11 players that make a successful captain. A successful captain doesn’t make a successful team. So, I have never undermined my role as a captain and I’ve always believed that it’s the 11 players that win you the game of cricket. Individuals can only contribute and they are picked to contribute. Tomorrow, if I get picked for a certain team, that is my responsibility to score runs. I am not doing anybody a favour. I am going out there to do a job for myself.

On playing a formidable CSK side in Chennai.

No doubt they are playing in their own backyard and they’ve been two-time winners, so they know how to play the finals. This is our first final, but you always believe that you go into a big game like this you start at 50-50. Especially in a T20 game when you go out on the field, there is no time to make comebacks; you always have to be on your toes. I’ve always maintained that Chennai is a very good side, especially in their own backyard. Their record speaks for them. So, we need to be up for it and we need to be more than 100 percent tomorrow to try and play some good cricket. And I’ve always believed that results are not in your favour, the only thing that’s in your favour is to go out there and give your 100 percent. If we play to our potential, definitely we’ll be having a good game tomorrow.

On the focus being on the Super Kings making it a hat-trick of IPL titles, ahead of the final.

They won twice in a row [IPL titles], so obviously the talk has to be around them. But I’ve always maintained that it’s good to go into the game with a low profile. In such games there are no favourites, there are no underdogs. To me, everyone in a big game starts at 50-50; whoever plays well on that day takes the cake. Chennai is a very good side and whatever talks are happening about them, they deserve every bit of it. At the same time, we’ve played some good cricket and we’ve got a lot of quality; not only this year. The way we’ve played in the last two years, we deserve every bit of it [success].

On what the fans mean to the team.

Whenever we’ve walked on to the field, we don’t go out to play for individuals. We’ve always wanted to give some joy back to the Kolkata people. I think they’ve given us fantastic support even in the first three years when things were not going our way. So, when we walk out on the field tomorrow, I can promise all the KKR fans that we’ll go out there and give our 100 percent. KKR is not about one or two heroes, it’s about the people who have supported us back home.
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