CHENNAI: Kolkata Knight Riders’ batting coach W V Raman says self belief and team work were the reasons behind the team’s triumphant run in IPL 7. He praised skipper Gautam Gambhir, who did not allow his indifferent form to affect the performance of his team in the long run, which culminated in a second IPL crown in three years. Excerpts...
How does it feel to have won the final, considering you had a poor start and were continuously trying to get the combo right?
Quite obviously, it feels great. It was an incredible performance, for we were at one point in a situation when every game was a knockout.
Did you fancy your chances, given that a target of 200 in a final is always tricky?
Teams chasing have done well at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium and we also did well while chasing. Yes, 200 was a stiff target, but there was a sense of quiet confidence in the dressing room.
When Uthappa got out early, did your team start worrying?
He had provided a solid foundation in the last 10 games and losing him early was a setback but Gambhir and Manish Pandey stitched together a very important partnership.
The turning point of the game?
The partnership between Pandey and Yusuf Pathan.
Pandey made up for Uthappa’s exit, could you rate his innings?
It was extraordinary given the occasion and the fact that he had not converted his starts into something substantial in the previous games.
Was the change in fortunes caused by the batting of Yusuf and cameo by Piyush Chawla?
Yes. We needed to keep the momentum going as we were chasing a huge target. Yusuf’s ability to collar the bowling is well known, but Chawla is no rabbit as he proved in a very important phase.
Did you tell the boys anything special?
I told them we needed to keep calm and build partnerships to give ourselves a chance.
Which are the areas you worked on in the top order?
The focus was on the need to play smart cricket, work the ball around and hit through the line without looking to throw the bat around at everything.
Uthappa made a big contribution. What about him?
He played conventional shots yet scored at a more than healthy rate to give great starts repeatedly. His positive approach and his consistency was a huge influence on others.
A word on Gambhir and his captaincy?
He looked in good nick once he got through the early blues and the remarkable thing was that he was on the ball as a captain even when he was not among runs.
A player of the calibre of Jacques Kallis was benched. How did he take it?
It is a tribute to Kallis that he put the interests of the team ahead of his own. His contribution behind the scenes was in no way less than the ones that were on the field.
A word on your team’s bowling in the final?
The bowlers were brilliant right through the tournament and they cant be criticised when over 400 runs are made in 40 overs.