Ahead of their IPL season opener against Gujarat Lions, Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir heaped praise on Umesh Yadav, stating the fast bowler would provide a boost once he joined the team after the second game.
“Umesh, well, that was a bit of a surprise because with the form he was in, if we could start with him would have been a big advantage,” said Gambhir.
“At the moment, I can say that yes, he is available (after two games). It’s just the workload issue. There’s no fitness issue when it comes to Umesh so it’s only because the BCCI wants to manage his workload. We have the third game at home and we have a little bit of a break after the second.”
The two-time champions will also have to deal with the absence of Andre Russell, who has been banned for a year, but have enough clean hitters to turn a match around.
On Thursday, Manish Pandey and Suryakumar Kumar seemed to enjoy the practice session, hitting a number of balls over the boundary ropes. Gambhir and Yusuf Pathan too looked comfortable, stepping out while freeing their arms.
“Russell we always knew (sic) that he was not going to be available and that’s why we got certain replacements who could fill that gap. We got someone like Chris Woakes and are looking forward that he is going to deliver for us,” said Gambhir.
He, however, was irritated on being asked about chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav, who had a dream debut against Australia in the Test series, stating the youngster should be left alone if he were to flourish.
“I’ve said this before that Kuldeep should be left alone. He’s a young cricketer and if there is constant talk regarding him it will create pressure and he’ll stop enjoying his game. If you want a spinner to flourish, let him be. We’ve realised that he could be a match winner for us and he’s a great attacking option,” he added.
Gambhir said he expected the wicket to have some grass on it, and the game to be a high-scoring one. “It looks like a good wicket with a bit of grass on it. I think it’s going to be a high-scoring game and that’s what we expected. I don’t expect any team which plays against us to dish out a wicket where it’s going to spin a lot so we were expecting this sort of a wicket to be honest.”