We play the Royals today. We're both on the same number of points. They want to win; we're desperate to keep home advantage. It's as simple as that. And yes, the pressure will be on us - more specifically, on me.
Captaincy is very tough. In this kind of format especially, when everything moves at a breathless pace, it's relentless, intense pressure. Perhaps if we had kept on winning, it would have been easier. But we didn't and things were getting desperate.
And, believe me, I was really feeling the pressure. It was there, in my face, in my head, telling me I couldn't switch off, not even for a moment. I couldn't not continually be thinking, planning ahead, keeping myself moving. So if you're wondering how I cope, I'm not sure there's a choice. I'm someone who's tremendously involved when leading a side. I know I'm not going to relax, so instead, I try and embrace that pressure, live with it.
I will be hyper, I will be intense, I will be on an edge. I will go by gut on everything. And personally, I don't want to confuse myself my taking too many opinions. As a leader, I've realised that while I'm open to ideas, I back myself. After all, whatever anyone says, it's my decision. I have to face the brickbats if something goes wrong. My view is, if I've accepted a charge, then I have to have the courage to take it all the way, take the bad with the good.
So yes, the captain has to absolutely be held responsible for whatever happens on the field. At the same time, in a situation like what Sangakkara, as Kings XI skipper, has gone through, I really feel for him. XIP have been fined over $400,000 so far for slow over rates with Sangakkara himself being fined over $100,000, plus a one-match ban.
T20 cricket is rough on the captain. You've got to make so many changes, field placements, shuffle bowlers around, strategise, even while trying to mentally shut out the crowd, the people shouting, the music blaring. The umpires are always there to keep pushing you over the overs and, in turn, you keep telling yourself 'move fast, move fast' --- but there's only that much you can do that fast.
The balls still need to be fetched from the boundary ever so often.
You still need to let your bowlers be, give them the leeway to walk back and bowl as they think best. You can't stress them out too, so it is quite difficult to get the overs done in time.
So here's what I think. If it's deliberate tardiness, yes, punish the skipper but if the guy's done all he can and yet he's behind, give him a bit of a break.