IPL 2019: KKR coach Kallis pleased with bowling options

Kallis asserted that the World Cup aspirants in the KKR squad would be committed for the franchise.

Knight Riders IPL 2019

Knight Riders will take on Sunrisers Hyderabad on March 24.   -  PTI

Playing the Indian Premier League (IPL) with the World Cup around the corner may be a distraction for some, but Kolkata Knight Riders coach Jacques Kallis believes his players will use the T20 event to sharpen their skills for the mega event in England.

Talking to reporters at the Eden Gardens here on Wednesday, Kallis asserted that the World Cup aspirants in the KKR squad would be committed for the franchise.

2019 preview: KKR - A well-rounded team

"The World Cup is there. We are not going to hide behind that fact but I can assure you the players will try their best. As much as it is in the back of their mind, their focus is going to be on the IPL to get into good form, in good competition and under pressure situations. That's the best way to prepare for a World Cup," said Kallis.

Kallis said managing workload would not be an issue. "The guys are professionals. They will know when to rest. We got great support staff and the physios and trainers...they will know how to handle the guys. We have full confidence in them and their calls on how the players are going."

Kallis also said India captain Virat Kohli's hunger was the key to his success and that his simple approach and hard work set him apart.

"He is a world class player. He has proved that over the years. People enjoy watching him bat and the thing about him is he keeps it very simple. He works very hard on his game which shows he is hungry to be on the ground for a long time. Who knows what he can achieve!" said Kallis.

Asked whether Kohli would be able to achieve a century of centuries like Sachin Tendulkar, Kallis did not rule out the possibility.

"If he is fit enough and willing enough to go that far, then certainly not unreachable."

Even as former KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir raised questions about Kohli's captaincy, Kallis rated him as one of the best. "I don't know too much about Indian cricket setup, but I don't think he is under too much pressure. He has produced the goods time and again. He is certainly one of the best in the world," said Kallis.

Assessing the quadrennial event, Kallis said, "It will be a World Cup that will be more open than it has ever been. The sides that play well throughout the tournament and in key moments are going to be the sides to beat."

One of the greatest all-rounders of all time, Kallis said his own country South Africa might benefit from being "the least favourite" side.

Asked about KKR's preparedness for the upcoming IPL, Kallis said, "The boys are in much better space than we have been in any other season. The academy that we have had has played a big role in helping the guys get to where they are.

"We are as balanced as we could possibly be... we got our bases covered."

Kallis was happy about KKR's pace bowling department. "One thing that we do have this year is few more options in the fast bowling department which is a big plus for us.

"From the batting point of view, we batted really well last season."

Kallis expressed his confidence over the side's attacking batsmen — Chris Lynn, Carlos Brathwaite and Andre Russell. "There are a lot of good power hitters in our side in whatever combination we come up with," he said.