KKR skipper says position will not change their approach
By Shirin Sadikot
Mumbai 06 May 2013
Kolkata Knight Riders came into IPL 2013 with expectations and hopes high, wearing the defending champions’ crown. However, their campaign did not go as planned and they managed a mere four wins from 11 games.
With the tournament progressing towards its business end, the competition for the top-four is boiling. In order to book a place in the playoffs, KKR need to find the inner champions in them.
An away game against the Mumbai Indians seems to be the perfect time for Gautam Gambhir and his men to push themselves to their limits. As the team prepared for the big challenge the KKR skipper sounded positive as ever of their chances to make the knockout stage.
“We are very much in the race. I haven’t heard anyone say that we’re out,” said Gambhir. ”A lot of people are saying that we need to win five out of five games. But if you see the last three years, teams have qualified in the top four with eight wins.”
Asked whether the desperation of going into every game with the knowing of the must-win situation would help the team rediscover their mojo, Gambhir said he is always desperate to win.
“Whether it’s the start or the end of a tournament, we always go out there to win. The desperation is always there. Till now we have approached every game with the same hunger and desperation and it’s not that only because we are in a position like this that we are desperate to win. We have to look at the remaining games like any other game rather than think it’s a must-win game,” he said.
With Sunil Narine and Sachitra Senanayake in their ranks, KKR have managed to get the better of the opposition batting with spin on slow and low tracks. But they have been found wanting on tracks with bounce and pace. Gambhir, however, was confident that his spin attack has the ability to succeed on the pacer-friendly Wankhede track.
“Fast bowlers have been more successful on this wicket because of the bounce and the swing later in the evening. But I believe that when you have quality, you have quality. Good spinners don’t require helpful surfaces to succeed. Both our spinners have many variation and tricks up their sleeve. So, you never know, we might end up picking them both even on this track,” Gambhir said.
An aspect of KKR’s batting that many think has let them down is the modest batting strike-rate of top-order batsman like Jacques Kallis. Gambhir refuted the claim saying he was just playing the role assigned to him and that the team has other batsmen who can score runs at a fast clip.
“We’re absolutely fine with his game,” Gambhir said of the South African legend. “We’ve got all kind of players. There are people like Brendon (McCullum) and Yusuf (Pathan) who thrive on strike-rates and bat at a rate of more than 130-140. So, we need someone to anchor the innings and Jacques has been playing that role for us.
“We have picked our squad based on that thinking. We pick players to play the role that suits their own game rather than asking them to change their game. We need someone, who the team can bat around and Jacques has done that very successfully for us.”