After a two-day break, the Kolkata Knight Riders got back to training on Tuesday, getting ready for a final dash towards the playoffs.
With seven wins in 11 matches, the new-look Knight Riders are probably a win away from the last four and they have three group league matches to get it. It's a situation they had never been in the first three seasons.
“It’s a wonderful feeling,” said coach, Dav Whatmore, who was with the team last season as well. "The way we have been able to shape our fortunes and be in a situation where we don't have to depend on favourable results from other teams show that enough work has been done in the body of the tournament.
“But we still have three very important matches to go and there is no other way but to keep working hard.”
The Knight Riders are the only team from the original eight to have never made it to the last four and they have never won more than seven matches in one edition. Last season, their seventh win came in the 14th, and last, group league match.
"Skill level," Whatmore said when asked about what had changed from last season. "Also, the way we managed to string together wins in this tournament. That improved our confidence, made the environment in the team a lot healthier."
Although Whatmore did not elaborate on the skill part, the Knight Riders, overhauled almost completely before IPL 4, have clearly got more consistent performances from their domestic players - captain Gautam Gambhir, Manoj Tiwary, Yusuf Pathan, Iqbal Abdulla and L Balaji.
Happy for Sourav
Questions inevitably turned to former Knight Riders' captain Sourav Ganguly, who made his debut for his new team, Pune Warriors India, on Tuesday.
“As you see, we can’t watch him play today because we are training. I’m very happy for him. This is what he wanted to do and he has done it,” said Whatmore.
The Knight Riders will travel to Bangalore on Thursday for their match against the Royal Challengers on Saturday. That will mean another meeting with Chris Gayle, who blew away his former team at the Eden Gardens in the first leg.
“We will pick everyone's brain in the team to find ways to get him out quickly,” Whatmore said of the only man to have scored two centuries in IPL.
Lee down with flu
Knight Riders' pacer Brett Lee did not train on Tuesday. “He has a slight influenza,” said Whatmore. “He will be fit for our next match.”