After losing their first match of IPL 2012 in their backyard, the Kolkata Knight Riders are hoping to make a comeback against the Rajasthan Royals here tomorrow.
Slogging hard at the RCA Academy nets, the KKR bowlers practiced under the watchful eyes of Wasim Akram. The former Pakistan skipper also bowled in the nets to give some batting practice to some of the Knight Riders.
Ahead of their match at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, senior KKR batsman Laxmi Ratan Shukla spoke to the media after practice.
Excerpts from his press conference:
On whether KKR blame the pitch or the rain for their loss against the Delhi Daredevils
The pitch was good, but what happened was when you are short of overs, you never know how to start [the game]. We also lost Manoj [Tiwary], [Jacques] Kallis and Brendon [McCullum] early, so we were not able to score as many runs as we should have. So though the wicket was good, this was the only reason why we had a low total. So hopefully, tomorrow we will get a good start, and we will do well tomorrow.
On whether KKR will play slow bowlers as the pitch here is more conducive to variations in pace
In T20 you never know which bowler will click or which delivery will fetch you a wicket and which will go for a six, so it is very difficult. Everyone tries [to pick wickets and restrict the number of runs conceded] but it is not always possible. The team management will try to field the best combination possible, and whatever combination plays, it will be good for the team.
On Kevon Cooper
Whatever I have seen of him, he is alright; nothing very special. He hits the slower [balls]. These days you are able to see people’s weakness and strengths. So hopefully, tomorrow we will be able to tackle him well.
On Ajinkya Rahane
He is a very good player and he is playing very well. He has batted very well yesterday. All teams plan for all the players, but personally I felt good watching the way he batted yesterday. All of us felt good watching him bat. The match against [RR] is tomorrow, so we will be [his] opponents tomorrow. But watching him yesterday was good. Hopefully we will have a good match tomorrow.
On whether KKR draw confidence from beating RR last year
Last year was last year; this year is [a] fresh start. All teams have undergone a lot of changes and everything is new. It will be a good game because T20 is an unpredictable format and you never know what will happen.
On whether the absence of Shane Warne in RR gives the opposition an advantage
We are not thinking about him. He is a very big player. Whenever he played for Rajasthan [Royals] he has done well and Rajasthan [Royals] will obviously be missing him this year.