Players aren’t affected by bookie arrest, says Kaif

With the arrest of three bookies from the team hotel making more news than the game itself in the last two days here, there is heightened speculation around host Gujarat Lions’ last IPL match here on Saturday.

Mohd. Kaif, a product of Kanpur's government cricket hostel, was chosen to address the local media as the local face.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

With the arrest of three bookies from the team hotel making more news than the game itself in the last two days here, there is heightened speculation around host Gujarat Lions’ last IPL match here on Saturday. The security at the hotel and around the players has increased manifold but the Green Park Stadium itself, on the eve of the match, was business as usual.

The team too is trying to ignore the buzz around its previous game against Delhi Daredevils that it lost in the last over. Not surprisingly, assistant coach Mohd. Kaif, a product of Kanpur's government cricket hostel, was chosen to address the local media as the local face.

And questions on the controversy were inevitable. “The Anti Corruption Unit is looking into the matter. The boys aren’t affected by it in any way and they are focussed on planning for the match. We are more concerned with the performance on field than anything that happens off it. If anything, the close losses we suffered in a few games have affected our players a lot more than such controversies, which have nothing to do with us. Those losses are what are a concern, not this,” Kaif stated.

Admitting that things did not his team’s way throughout the tournament, Kaif said the team management kept trying different combinations and experimenting but nothing worked. “We know it is crucial for SRH but we are concentrating on our own game and looking to finish off with a win. There will be fresh auctions next year, new teams and new combinations and everyone wants to do his best to impress the franchises and selectors, so there is nothing easy about tomorrow's game,” Kaif insisted.

On his part, SRH coach Tom Moody insisted that his team was here to win and not think about the permutations of other teams or things out of their control. “Certainly we were confident of having a smooth sailing after a fine start, but others too came up with some good performance and we too had to face some defeats. All teams are equal and maintaining consistency is difficult. Still, compared to many others we have done better,” Moody said.

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