Pacers’ form not a concern for Karthik

Ahead of Knight Riders' fixture against Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Eden Gardens on Sunday, KKR skipper, Dinesh Karthik, is not concerned with his fast bowlers' form. The skipper feels these are still early days in the tournament and there is enough room for improvement.

Kolkata Knight Riders' skipper Dinesh Karthik dives to take a catch during a training session ahead of KKR's match against Sunrisers Hyderabad.   -  K.R. Deepak

In its last outing against Chennai Super Kings, the Kolkata Knight Riders’ pace brigade of R. Vinay Kumar, Andre Russell and Tom Curran, conceded 109 runs in 8.5 overs.

That’s not all. In the Indian Premier League (IPL) starter against Royal Challengers Bangalore too, the pacers — with Mitchell Johnson in the ranks — leaked 70 runs in 8 overs, raising eyebrows.

But ahead of Knight Riders' fixture against Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Eden Gardens on Sunday, KKR skipper, Dinesh Karthik, is not concerned with these numbers. The skipper feels these are still early days in the tournament and there is enough room for improvement.

Excerpts…

On the team’s morale after going down to Chennai Super Kings.

In this format and this tournament, these are normal (things). You expect close games as all teams are equal and you expect games to go down the wire. It’s not surprising for us. It didn’t come as a shock, they are a very good team. Both played equally good cricket but CSK just got over the line.

On whether he is concerned with pacers leaking too many runs?

It’s not a concern. It is early days in the tournament, so there’s room for improvement.

On whether his side is missing serious pace at the death?

(Andre) Russell bowling some good pace, that’s very good sign for us. Curran bowled well considering it was his first game. Mitchell Johnson is there and we have (Kamlesh) Nagarkoti. So we have pace in the kitty.

At this point can’t say whether we are going for Nagarkoti or Shivam Mavi. We will think about it tonight and decide the combination tomorrow.

His take on former Knights Shakib Al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan and Manish Pandey’s stint with Sunrisers this time. Is that a concern ahead of Saturday’s fixtures?

I understand they played for a long time but all the boys played Ranji Trophy as well, we all know the conditions. For Yusuf and Manish… they know all the grounds in India. I accept they have played a lot for KKR, so they will feel familiar here. But all the players are aware of how it goes around in India for sure.

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On whether KKR will persist with R Vinay Kumar.

Look, to be fair to him, I think he bowled with a lot of pressure in both the games — the first over and the 20th in both games. He will be the first one to put his hand up and say he could have bowled a lot better. But having said that, I know he is a strong character and he will come back strong.

On whether Mitchell Johnson will feature against SRH.

He is fit and we will take a call tomorrow.

On KKR’s fielding so far…

There is little time to change things. We have addressed the issue and this is something all players are aware of. At the end of the day, it's one skill that all the players can contribute. We are wishing for the best in the forthcoming game.

On any injury concerns?

There are no injury concerns.

His take on Sunrisers’ bowling unit.

They have been one of the better bowling teams in the tournament. They have good depth in their bowling and at the same time we are an equally balanced team, so it’s two good teams competing against each other. So, I am sure it will be a good match.

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On whether David Warner’s absence has had an impact on SRH.

I think David Warner brings a lot of power at the top. He is a special player, probably one of the best T20 players going around. He has great skills and he has been consistent in the last few IPLs in terms of performing for SRH, so I am sure that's big loss for them. Having said that, they are playing some good cricket and that's good to see.

On how does he see the clash between Sunil Narine and Rashid Khan?

That’s the beauty of IPL, when you’re pitted against each other. They both have a little bit of mystery to them which is very interesting. Till now both the bowlers have bowled well in this tournament and I am sure going forward, both will have some great contests against each other.

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