With his repertoire of shots, Gautam Gambhir can be quite intimidating for bowlers – whether fast or slow. As a skipper he is astute and sharp, and led the Kolkata Knight Riders to their maiden title last year, ending their woeful streak of underachievement.
But with victory and success escalated expectations. This season, with a little slump in form, the challenges that confront him will be different. Healthy returns with the bat could bolster his comeback bid. But irrespective of what the future holds for him, he is unperturbed.
The New Indian Express tried to get into the mind of the KKR captain, a day before their opening game. Excerpts:
What are your expectations from your team this season?
It is about raising the bar, taking the game to the next level. It’s about starting afresh and making everyone believe what has happened is now a part of history. At the same time, we believe in inclusive leadership, a more involved approach towards the challenges.
Are you under pressure to retain the title?
Pressure is there. But we are not looking that far. There is always the danger of looking too far ahead at the destination and start worrying. I think it is important to enjoy the journey rather than worry about the goal.
What are the things you would like to do differently this season?
Not much to be honest. We want to keep things simple and do the basics right. We will only fix something when it’s broken. At the same time, leadership is not done on a pattern or in a template. It is on instinct and part of it is planning. So that’s what you will see.
Which are the teams likely to pose a threat to your title quest?
None in particular. I think our competition is within ourselves. We have to beat our own demons to win games. In any case, we respect all the opposition teams as there is little to choose between them.
Who are the players around whom you will revolve your game plan?
I don’t believe in talking about individuals. It’s about 11 men on the field trying to beat the other 11 men. We have some hardworking players who have a burning desire to do well.
How do you look at Shah Rukh Khan — as a Superstar or a team owner?
To us he is a team. Yes he is a superstar and a team owner, but he never shows that to us. I like his movies, have seen Jab Tak Hai Jaan, liked what he did, especially his fauji look but there is no reason to get intimidated by his presence. SRK is team.