I am recovering from the loss in the World T20. It hurt bad, real bad. You know, that is why sport is a great leveler. The IPL was my last T20 competition, which my team, Kolkata Knight Riders, won. Almost five months later, in another T20 competition, my team, India, didn't even make it to the semis.
Anyway, I won't bore you with my sulks. Actually, sitting here in Potchefstroom, preparing for the Champions League T20 with KKR's golden boys, there are a lot of happy memories of May 27, 2012, the day we won the IPL.
I remember I was in Australia earlier this year and was chatting on the phone with our team's assistant coach and my great friend, Vijay Dahiya. It wasn't turning out to be a memorable tour. I told Vijay bhai, 'I want to win the IPL this year. I have to win it to erase the memories of the Australia tour.'
There was this burning desire to prove to myself that what happened in Australia was an exception and I could perform on the big stage. That was it. The seeds were sown for KKR to roar in IPL 2012.
When I joined the team in Kolkata, I shared my vision. In one of the earlier team meetings, I coined a theme for our team, which read: IF YOU PLAY FOR THE NAME ON THE FRONT OF THE SHIRT, PEOPLE WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER THE NAME AT THE BACK. This was our IPL mantra, which got the team spirit going in challenging circumstances.
For instance, our loss against the Kings XI Punjab at the Eden Gardens. We were chasing 135 and lost by two runs. That was one of the worst days of our campaign. I was furious after the match. But credit to my team and support staff that we rallied around each other, played for each other and won six matches on the trot. My team really did me - and Bengal - proud.
You know, if there ever was an X-factor in our campaign, it was the KKR fan. Be it the Eden Gardens or the lobby of the team hotel or malls, where we often went to watch movies, or even the streets of Kolkata, the passion and desire to win...my God…it doesn't have any parallel anywhere in the world. They deserve nothing but the best. Thank you all.
Opportunity in SA
Now, the Champions League is another opportunity for KKR to show their mettle. It is a chance to show the world that the IPL win was not a fluke. And, for the first time, we are going into a competition without the underdog tag.
The eyes are glowing with confidence. The tag of defending champions doesn't feel like a burden at all; it actually gives us the confidence that we can do it again. Confidence can do strange things.
Now, I better go back to practice as the coaches are giving me ugly stares. Don't worry, we are comfortable in Potsch - like one big family away from home. We are getting Indian food, the weather is good, practice facilities are great, the team spirit is there and the desire to win is burning bright.
And all you KKR fans, enjoy the Puja and sweets, but keep a watch on your weight. Pray for us guys, we need your love. Always.
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The writer is KKR skipper