Simon Katich looks forward to a 'fantastic start' for KKR

The batting coach admits his team will be the underdog against Royal Challengers Bangalore in its tourney opener.

Simon Katich (above) banked on the duo of Robin Uthappa and Chris Lynn to provide some “fireworks” in as openers for Kolkata Knight Riders. (File Photo)   -  Getty Images

Kolkata Knight Riders batting coach Simon Katich is eager to see his team upset a formidable Royal Challengers Bangalore in its opening Indian Premier League (IPL) match at the Eden Gardens on Sunday.

“No doubt, we go in as underdogs as RCB is one of the joint favourites to win the title. We look forward to the challenge in proving people wrong,” Katich said ahead of KKR’s practice session here on Thursday.

“We are looking forward to a fantastic start to the IPL for us. Hopefully, we will get him (Virat Kohli) caught at the slips like last year,” he said.

'Perfect time of career'

The Australian backed new Knight Riders captain Dinesh Karthik, who replaced Gautam Gambhir this year. "From captaincy point of view, he is in the perfect time of his career. He has done that with Tamil Nadu with a fair bit of success. He is a highly experienced player in the IPL, played for 10 years. I don't think he will be under pressure.

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"First and foremost thing will be to give guidance to this group. He has got a lot of experienced players around him, particularly in overseas group. And there are Piyush Chawala, Vinay Kumar and Robin Uthappa. Our role is to take the pressure off him and we look forward to him continuing the form he showed for India recently."

Pandey's 'big role to fill'

Katich said the experienced opening pair, including a fully fit Chris Lynn and Robin Uthappa, would give strength to Knight Riders. The team has managed to build a good batting side even though it did not have Manish Pandey this time, felt Katich. "Manish did a very good job for us in the middle order for a number of years…We felt the squad was important and we could not just change that for one player. It's a big role to fill but we have likes of Dinesh (Karthik) and (Nitish) Rana to fill in the role."

Katich clarified that Sunil Narine rectified his action after being reported in the Pakistan Super League last month.

On the ball-tampering issue, Katich said, “All three players — Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft — haven't appealed the ban. They have taken it on their chin and Cricket Australia sent a strong message …They are all good young lads, unfortunately they made a bad mistake. I hope they come back bigger and better players."

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