It’s not often that one player dominates the run aggregates or bowling charts in a team game like cricket. But the manner in which Jacques Kallis has batted for us has been a lesson for all youngsters. The fact that no opponent has been able to dismiss him in four attempts, and that he won the Man of the Match award on three of those occasions, just shows you how much of an impact he’s had on the play. Add the fact that he bowls some crucial overs for us, and is a key component in executing our bowling plans, and you have an extremely valuable player in your ranks.
We’ve played two games each home and away now, and to be at the top of the points table is a good thing. However, as captain, I don’t believe in looking too much at the standings. Last season, we were in eighth position at one spot, but the team never gave up. There was plenty of talk among the fans and the media, but the way I look at it is that we’re there to win a game of cricket.
It’s going to be no different when we play Chennai. They have some quality attacking batsmen in their ranks, like Matthew Hayden and Suresh Raina, and it’s going to be very important for us to execute our plans in a precise manner.
This tournament is barely 10 days old and already we’ve played four games and have two back-to-back matches coming up. It’s a taxing run, and one of the things every team has to think about is how they manage their squad, keeping players fresh and in form for a 45-day period. In our case, we have talented youngsters like Abhimanyu Mithun on the bench at the moment, and I’m sure we’re going to see him figure in the eleven at some stage. At the moment, though Vinay Kumar is doing a good job for us.
With two home games coming up, I should also mention the home support we’ve been getting. Over the last three editions, the connect between fans and our team has grown considerably. When we play at home, there are plenty of red shirts in the crowd and the atmosphere has been fantastic. Here you’ve got to credit the franchise for building initiatives that help the fans come in contact with the team. This gives the fans a feeling that we are their team, and it helps. It’s not just the IPL, even recently, in the Ranji Trophy, there was plenty of support for guys like Manish Pandey, Vinay and others as they were not looked at purely as Karnataka players, but also RCB players.