Kolkata: When everyone thought Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) would make the last four easily they succumbed to pressure and failed to make it to the play offs last edition but captain Gautam Gambhir on Saturday said they won’t be repeating the same mistakes this time in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The Knights have won six of their nine games so far with eight matches in hand. Out of the rest they would ideally have to win two more to make it to the play offs.
Last year, the men in purple needed to win one out of their last two outings but they failed to grab any and crashed out.
“We should not be taking anything lightly. We have realised what has happened last year where we could not win one in the last two games. Everyone thought we were through and ultimately we did not qualify,” Gambhir said at the KKR versus Gujarat Lions pre-match media conference.
“We want to play as a champion team. We will try and take one game at a time. First let us qualify for the play offs and then let us see where we finish. Gujarat is No.2, so it will be a good contest. We have taken a learning from last year, hopefully won’t repeat the mistakes.”
A few days back the two-time champions roped in former South African gloveman Mark Boucher as their wicket-keeping consultant. And Gambhir said the move was initiated to help out the two part time keepers that KKR have in their squad.
“We have two part time wicket keepers (Robin Uthappa and Sheldon Jackson), some one got to work with them especially going forward now. We have a few home games now and on this wicket, if it starts turning it will be difficult when Sunil and Hoggy bowls.
“So some of that experience, that is if he (Boucher) tells them how to handle spin bowling will always be useful,” said Gambhir.
The captain alongwith Uthappa has time and again laid a solid foundation with the bat for the Knights. Asked what were the secrets behind their strong partnerships, Gambhir said: ”Difficult to say what has clicked. Important thing is both need to score runs and make a good combination.
“We both have been scoring a lot of runs and that is why we have stuck together for a long time. Others (other teams) have changed because they might have not clicked together.”
KKR’s mystery spinner Narine had to sit out the previous outing against Kings XI Punjab due to a finger injury and Gambhir said they will take a call on him before the Lions game.
“We haven’t started practising yet. Let us see how he goes. We will take a call then,” he said.
Gambhir also said he was against games going down to the wire saying that nobody learns from the close matches.
The spinners who have been KKR’s key to success over the last few seasons have given away a lot of runs in the previous few games but Gambhir chose to stand by them stating that they will make a strong comeback.
“Sunil bowled well in Bangalore, 10 runs is par on that ground. For Hoggy it was one of the bad days, where Maxwell took him on (against Kings XI). He is an attacking bowler and might be taken for a few runs sometimes but he is someone who can keep on taking wickets,” he said.
“We have bowlers who can take wickets at any point and that is how we control the game. Piyush and Sunil are attacking bowlers so sometimes they can be taken for runs,” stated the out-of-favour Indian opener.
The skipper concluded by saying that he would want a bigger turn out at the Eden from the next game.