April 15, 2011

This cricket calendar can be really strenuous. It’s only been a week the World Cup fever has ended and the Indian Premier League is upon us. Playing professional cricket these days is not only a test of your body but the mind as well. I am sure most of our modern cricketers know how to strike a balance.

The Indian players will be surely tired after their World Cup win. All the accolades and public appearances can be tiring but playing cricket and performing consistently will always be central. After their Cup success, all the Indian players will be hungry to do well in the IPL and live up to their reputation. This will ensure the T20 league produces quality cricket. An IPL win is equally important.

Obviously as their bowling consultant, I want Kolkata Knight Riders to do well this season. On paper, our team is good and we have an excellent leader in Gautam Gambhir. I feel the Delhi lad is a very humble guy, leads from the front and has got a good cricketing brain. He has to play a great role this year for us.

We will surely benefit from the experience of South Africa all-rounder Jacques Kallis. He, according to me, is the No.1 all-rounder in the history of cricket. England middle-order batsman Eoin Morgan is also very handy in this format.

Young players like Manoj Tiwari and Netherlands star Ryan ten Doeschate are also a big plus. I will be keenly watching the Dutchman as his all-round abilities during the ICC Cricket World Cup excited me. Brett Lee and Shakib Al-Hasan will not be there for a couple of games, but are prized catches for us. The side looks good and the dressing room is very calm as they all want to do well. Things are moving in the right direction. It’s a long tournament so we should stick together as a team. Teamwork will be crucial.

Having said that, definitely we are going to miss Sourav Ganguly but I believe it’s time for him to move on. The owners wanted a new team as the side was unchanged for three years. But obviously Dada will be with us all the way. It’s his team and his city. He is a good friend of mine and we will miss him, for sure.

Trying to assess all the other teams in the tournament is a near-impossible task. If cricket is a funny game, then T20 is funnier. It is very difficult to predict in the shortest format which is the best side. Teams like Kochi and Pune are new arrivals, so you can’t really take them for granted.

It is also very difficult to predict the favourites for this 51-day long competition but I think the team that gels well will do well. KKR have a number of all-rounders and our batting depth is till No.9 so that’s a combination that I feel might work. But at the end of the day the team that plays well as a unit will do well and every team is dangerous on a particular day.

In T20 cricket, even the average players look good. In this format your weaknesses do not get highlighted as much as they do in ODIs and Test cricket. You can’t plan much in the middle of a match. Before you try and make something happen the match is over. Team players should support each other especially when things are not working in your favour. So, keep your cool, enjoy the game and let the fans have fun too.

Courtesy: www.espnstar.com

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