It has reached a stage for the Kolkata Knight Riders where wry humour is the order of the day. Ishant Sharma was at the wheel of a golf cart with fellow mediumpacer Ashok Dinda for company. “Apart from learning to drive the golf cart, the boys have five games to show how well they can play,” said coach John Buchanan. With only three points from nine matches KKR have set the standard for the worst IPL run, eclipsing even the Deccan Chargers’ dismal performance last year.
“Our job is to go back to our basics and do as well as possible, to get the results going our way and hurt certain teams’ chances of qualifying,” said Buchanan.
The team, and Buchanan in particular, has come in for criticism for not playing Mashrafe Mortaza, who was bought for 11 times his base price at the option, and using Ajantha Mendis in only two matches. In February, Ganguly, who was then still captain of KKR, had said “Mortaza is a very good cricketer. Unfortunately, he plays for a team (Bangladesh) that does not win much. Hopefully he will show his cricketing skills, and we will be able to judge him better when he plays for a side that is packed with quality players.” After nine matches in the IPL, the world has not got a glimpse of Mortaza’s IPL avatar yet.
While Buchanan is sorry that these two don’t figure in his plans, he doesn’t see how they will get a chance to play. “We have a wonderful spinner in Mendis and should have used him a bit more. But the four foreigners in the XI are three batsmen and an all-rounder. So we need the Indian bowlers to shore up that department,” explained Buchanan. Buchanan conceded that this strategy meant that “Mendis and Mortaza will not get a chance.”
Even at this bleak stage, though, Buchanan did not agree that the second IPL has been a disaster for KKR. “I don’t see it as a disaster. It is just that we have not been getting results we would have liked. Disaster is when the world is coming to an end. And the world is not coming to an end for the franchise.”