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HindustanTimes Sun,13 Jul 2014
Gambhir is a tough but popular leader
Jacques Kallis
May 24, 2012
First Published: 01:01 IST(24/5/2012)
Last Updated: 01:04 IST(24/5/2012)

I have been fortunate to qualify for quite a few finals in my career and every one has been a sweet reminder of why we play the game. There is no better feeling than waking up in the morning with butterflies in your stomach knowing that it has come down to THIS day.

Fortunately, I learned the lesson a long time ago that the excitement and sense of satisfaction that you feel after reaching the final must be celebrated, and then discarded quickly before the final.

Of course, it is a fantastic achievement to reach the final. The IPL is a long and hard tournament and to win as many games as we did is a great reflection of the attitude of the KKR players and reward for the hard work they have put in.

But when we walk out for the last game of IPL V, all those emotions will be confined to history. Everybody remembers that the Rajasthan Royals won the inaugural IPL. Who came second? Who were the beaten finalists in the second and third years? People only remember the winners.

Hard on Daredevils
It would be hard on the Daredevils if they do not reach the final after dominating the league phase. But their reward for playing so well for six weeks is a second chance against either the Super Kings or Mumbai Indians.

Just imagine if our game had been a straight semifinal! That would have been even harder to swallow!

It is hard to single out any of the players considering how consistent most of them have been but two stand out. First is the captain. Gauti has been a hard but popular leader and his runs at the top of the order have been crucial.

The second is Sunil Narine. On a helpful surface I would rate him as highly as most spinners I have ever faced. When people ask me what his 'secret' is, I have to reply honestly and say 'I don't know!' I have faced him in the nets through the last seven weeks and I still can't pick him. Seriously!

World cup failure
One final I haven't qualified for, as everyone knows, is the World Cup. I've had five attempts and five failures. I have also had five attempts in the IPL. There will be a lot of determined players in Chennai on Sunday night, but there won't be anyone more determined than me.

Hawkeye. The writer plays for KKR


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