Kolkata Knight Riders’ captain Gautam Gambhir does not believe that they would be under pressure to defend their tile. He, instead, feels that it would give them more confidence to perform better as a team. “Being the defending champions does not add to the pressure, it only gives us some extra confidence. You’ve got the monkey off your back. KKR is a very popular team off the cricket field as well. Now is the time to go out there and play fearless cricket,” Gambhir said.
The former India opener also denied that the IPL would be a litmus test for him to regain his place in the Indian team.
“I see this IPL as being the defending champions. I don’t play for individual things. I play for a team called KKR and I play as the defending champion and nothing more than that,” he asserted.
Asked how would Brendon McCullum’s absence affect the composition of the team, Gambhir said: “We’ve got a lot of quality players in the dressing room. Now is the time to go out there and step up to the opportunity.”
He always emphasised on the importance of team whenever questions were asked about individual players. Regarding Delhi Daredevils’ missing fast bowler Morne Morkel, his replied: “We don’t think about particular individuals. We don’t want to talk about how X, Y, Z player would play. We’re playing a game of cricket and it’s a team sport.”
Similarly, Gambhir said big-hitting Yusuf Pathan is not the only batsman KKR were depending to win matches. When asked about the chances of local pace bowler Mohammad Shami’s chances of playing the opening match, Gambhir’s sharply retorted: “All 23 individuals in the dressing room have a chance.”
The KKR captain did not give much importance to a question on the newly-laid Eden wicket. “We just want to play quality cricket and ensure that all areas are covered. We don’t talk much about the wicket. The surface is newly-laid and we hope it turns out lucky for us and help us start on a winning note,” he observed.
Speaking on their bowling trump-card Sunil Narine, the KKR skipper said: “It’s about the strategy and when’s the right time to send someone. It was not only Narine, bowlers like Jacques Kallis and Balaji, who was most economical, contributed to the team’s cause. We all are ready for the challenge.”