Kolkata: Former Pakistan skipper Wasim Akram on Monday said that the Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) captain Gautam Gambhir should win Indian Premier League V (IPL) to prove a point to the Indian selectors who have removed him from the vice-captaincy of the Indian cricket team.
Ridiculing the selectors’ decision to drop Gambhir from the Indian vice-captaincy, the Kolkata Knight Riders bowling coach said: “First time, I saw the vice-captain was dropped after losing. Usually the captain is dropped after losing…I don’t understand what made the selectors to drop him.
“I don’t know about him and what he feels but if I were Gambhir then definitely I would have thought ‘you removed me from the vice-captaincy and my goal would have been to win this IPL and prove a point’.
Akram said the Knight Riders have a balanced side and every member of the team was enjoying each other’s company. “In general, we have the same team with five or six local players, who have been recruited keeping in mind the future,” said the former bowling great.
“We have a very good coach in Trevor Bayliss who has immense T20 experience. The best thing about this team is they like each other’s company. They will enjoy the success. This is the secret of any team’s success, to support each other’s success or failure,” he added.
Welcoming the inclusion of the former KKR player Brendon McCullum, Akram said, “It’s great that he returns to the team. This team has variety in both batting and bowling. Our captain (Gambhir) leads from the front. And we have a great hitter in Yusuf Pathan.”
Akram said that the Knight Riders would benefit immensely from sports psychologist, Dr Rudi Webster. “When I was a player, I used to speak to my wife as she is a psychologist. The idea to have a sports psychologist is to give confidence to the players going through a lean phase.
“This guy (Webster) is very experienced, having worked with Gary Sobers, Viv Richards, Brian Lara. He is the sports
psychologist with cricketing experience. When you are mentally comfortable, it helps in your game,” insisted Akram.
He also said that they were looking forward to playing on any kind of wicket. “Wicket does not make any difference as we have a good side. We all know the Eden wicket, which is a good batting track.”
Asked whether he was looking forward to their contest against Sourav Ganguly-led Pune Warriors India, Akram said, “It would be a very exciting contest. Sourav is a great friend of mine. I have worked with him, both as a player and commentator. He is a fierce competitor.”
“The pressure will be on him and not on us. First time, we will see him under pressure.”