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IPL Staff in Kolkata 02 April 2013 - 05:13pm IST

No pressure to perform being defending champions: Gautam Gambhir

Kolkata Knight Riders ready for title defense

Gautam Gambhir might be out of form and out of favour in the Indian whites. But when Gambhir dons that IPL jersey, Kolkata Knight Riders is what holds utmost importance. When asked if he would take this IPL as a perfect platform to make a comeback into the national side, Gambhir was quick to respond

“I see this IPL as being the defending champions. I do not talk about individuals and do not play for individuals. I play for a team called KKR and I would like to focus on that and not more than that.”

The Knight Riders clichéd their maiden IPL title last year in Chennai, defeating the hosts ad then defending champions. Gambhir also said that the team, being defending champions won’t be under any kind of pressure to perform. “The tag of defending champions will give us more confidence than pressure. We have got the monkey off our backs winning the IPL title last year and we have shown that we can play good cricket on the field. It is now time that we play some fearless cricket.”

Like their opponents, Delhi Daredevils, KKR too will be missing out on their hard hitting opener, Brendon McCullum. So is the opening slot a cause of concern and does it miss out on quality?

“Not at all! We have a lot of quality in the dressing room, and it only gives lots of opportunities for others in the side to do something better for the team. Hope we all step up to the occasion and someone can end up being the match winner tomorrow.”

Delhi will be missing out on their key fast bowler in Morne Morkel, and when asked if that could play as an advantage for the Knights, the captain said, “Look we don’t think about individuals. It doesn’t matter if XYZ from the other camp is playing or not. It is a game of cricket and you do not think about any particular individual. You go out there to compete a game against an entire team. We just want to go out there and play a good game of cricket.”

The captain also refused to give much importance to the Eden pitch but hoped that they started the tournament on a high. “I think we have all the bases covered and we do not believe in talking about wickets. We are ready to play well in any kind of surface and anywhere. We just want to go out there and play quality cricket and play to our potential and see how it goes. Hopefully the new pitch will be lucky for us.”

Brett Lee doubles up as bowler and bowling mentor this season in the absence of Wasim Akram. KKR coach Trevor Bayliss was satisfied with the speedster’s role in the team.

“Brett Lee has done a good job so far. We have been together in three or four practices and he has played a good role. He has done some good work with the pace bowlers and I am sure we will benefit from his experience in this IPL.”

The captain added that the team was upbeat and ready for the challenge and was eagerly looking forward to their first game on Wednesday.
Saying, “The players are ready. Most of the players were playing T20 tournaments. They have been going through a lot of training sessions. They are fresh and the most important thing is they need to come all prepared tomorrow. I can say the team is ready for the challenge tomorrow,” Gambhir signed off. 

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