KKR not taking the top spot for granted: Gambhir

I don’t think we should be taking anything lightly because we have realised what had happened last year. After the first 12 games everyone thought that we are through but ultimately we were the only side which couldn’t qualify. We want to play as a professional unit and as a champion unit.

KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir is not worried about his bowlers going for runs.   -  PTI

As Kolkata Knight Riders makes good progress in the Indian Premier League (IPL) this season, captain Gautam Gambhir seems to be the man in control.

On the eve of the home side’s match with Gujarat Lions at the Eden Gardens, Gambhir reflected on various aspects of KKR’s journey.

On opening partnership:

It is difficult to say what has clicked and the important thing is that both need to score and that is what makes a good combination. We both have been doing well and that is why we have stuck together for a long time. Why people have changed their opening pair is because they have not clicked together or not been scoring runs.

On Eden Gardens pitch:

When you have played at Mumbai, Hyderabad and Delhi, where it was coming on nicely on to the bat, and at Bengaluru, where it was a high scoring game, and coming to the Eden Gardens, you have to get used to the pace of the wicket. We have not practised after coming from Bengaluru. The way the entire batting line-up adjusted here has to be given a lot of credit. That is what professional players do.

On close finishes (like the one against KXIP):

I don’t think teams achieve anything and any team would want a close finish. We would be very happy if there are not many close finishes. There is far more stress and we have seen the closer the game gets, people need to handle their nerves better. As a player you would be happy if you can win the game convincingly because that is how you start dominating the tournament as well. The more close finishes, you start doubting certain things and criticizing certain things.

On Narine and Hogg going for runs:

I am not worried. I thought Sunil bowled pretty well in Bengaluru. We all knew it is going to be a difficult ground for any bowler to bowl and the way he handled himself was brilliant. For Hogg, it was just one of those off days when Glenn Maxwell took him on and we all know how Hogg can be. He is always an attacking bowler. Piyush Chawla and Sunil Narine are also attacking bowlers. There could be days where they will get hammered but most of the times they look to take wickets.

On four home matches to go:

I don’t think we should be taking anything lightly because we have realised what had happened last year. After the first 12 games everyone thought that we are through but ultimately we were the only side which couldn’t qualify. We want to play as a professional unit and as a champion unit. Tomorrow is an important game. Gujarat Lions is number two on the table. If we can win the game tomorrow it will increase the gap as well and we will have one game in hand.

On Mark Boucher’s appointment:

I thought we had got two part-time wicketkeepers and if someone can work along with them especially with us playing a couple of home matches now, on this wicket where it will start turning, it is going to be difficult to keep if Narine and Hogg are playing together. If someone with that experience can help two part-time wicket-keepers and learn a bit more about handling spin bowling, it will always be useful.

On poor turnout:

I hope we get better crowd because we have been playing good cricket and we are at the top of the table. That is what you want. Eden Gardens has its charm when the ground is absolutely packed. Maybe the crowds haven’t come because we haven’t played for a very long time.

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