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Before their first match of the IPL 2013, Sunrisers Hyderabad mentor Kris Srikkanth spoke about ‘belief’ and ‘faith’ being a crucial aspect to their journey in the tournament. He spoke about creating a vibe of positive energy in the dressing room that would bring the team success.
Now, 46 days, 16 matches, a super over and a hattrick later, Kris Srikkanth is proud of a team that not many gave a chance of making to the playoffs. The Sunrisers hardly have any superstars nor does it boast of big names from the domestic circuit; yet in their very first year, they have made it to the top four of the tournament. With a renewed team, new backstage staff, refurbished hope and a drive to succeed, the Sunrisers now look forward to putting up a similar spirited performance in the playoffs.
Still over the moon after achieving one of their primary targets in the tournament, Kris Srikkanth spoke to IPLT20.com with a joy that knew no bounds. He compared the win to one of India’s most iconic moments in cricketing history; the 1983 World Cup victory which he was a part of.
“My memories went down to the 1983 World Cup. Nobody gave us a chance in the World Cup that year, but we qualified and won at the end of the day. The feeling today is quite similar as no one gave the Sunrisers a chance in the tournament, and today we have qualified for the playoffs,” said an overjoyed Srikkanth.
With a win against the Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday, the Sunrisers have not only booked a playoffs spot but have also knocked out favouritesRoyal Challengers Bangalore out of the tournament. From being labelled as the underdogs, to making it to the final four, the Sunrisers Hyderabad have indeed come a long way.
“If you look at the team, we had the faith and belief that we would make it. Everybody said we were the underdogs, but we were not worried about it. This team is built on teamwork and not individual performance. The core of the team has been the supportive nature of its members. Everybody backed each other through the ups and downs in the tournament which has helped in the team’s success,” said Srikkanth.
A new setup, a new support staff and a renewed team has indeed caught a lot of people by surprise. From game number one to game number sixteen, Srikkanth describes the Sunrisers’ journey in one word – Fantastic.
“The journey for us has been fantastic. Before the start of the tournament, the only thing we told the boys was to play with a lot of passion. They have done exactly that and it is this passion in their hearts that has got the team thus far.”
Srikkanth, who has always believed in the power of the people and positive energy, also credits the people of Hyderabad for the team’s success. “I have always believed in the power of the people. The energy of the people of Hyderabad has been brilliant. They have supported us throughout and this helped create a positive energy that was reflected on the field. Our fans turned up in great numbers for our games and have given us unconditional support.”
When asked what he would tell the team when they meet the Rajasthan Royals in the playoffs, Srikkanth replied with a smile. “Keep playing your natural game. Do not worry or get overburdened by the occasion. Take it one game at a time and the results will follow.”
While Delhi Daredevils’ Siddharth Kaul picked two key wickets on his 23rd Birthday, it was not enough to avoid an away loss against the Pune Warriors India. However, the youngster, who made his tournament debut this season, took a lot of positives from IPL 2013.
Getting to share the dressing room with top-class pacers and seniors are some of the things that the young Punjab pacer cherishes. The second-highest wicket-taker from last year’s Ranji Trophy also shared how he has learnt to cope with the challenges of playing at the top level thanks to his experiences with DD.
Excerpts from his exclusive chat with IPLT20.com:
On playing well on his birthday
It is always great to have a day like this when you are taking wickets and helping your team’s cause. Unfortunately, we did not win. But it is always a boost when you perform well in a tournament. You can always carry it forward to the next tournament and the next season. However, right now, I am not thinking about next year; whatever comes my way, I will give it my 100 percent.
On what he has learnt during his time with DD
It is always a learning process, no matter what level you play in – be it junior or senior. Playing in the IPL under cricketers like Mahela Jayawardene, Viru Bhai and others is great. It always helps to learn about my weaknesses and my strengths from them.
On being on the same side as some top-level pace bowlers
It always feels great when you play with great pacers like Irfan Bhai, Umesh Bhai, Ashish Bhai, Ajit Bhai and Morne Morkel. They all have so much more experience than me, so I am always learning from them.
Whether he has picked up any new deliveries from these veterans
No, I have not picked up any new deliveries as such. I am bowling to my strength, as I feel it would be better to play to my strengths and work on that.
On what he has learnt this season
I have learnt how to cope in the final overs and how to bowl in the first spell as well. I now know how to prepare for a match; how to keep my composure and not get bogged down if I get hit for a few runs. I have basically learnt how to focus on the positives this season.