A positive attitude and camaraderie; that is what is keeping Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in good spirits and above most teams in the IPL 10 standings.
Asked whether the mathematical possibility of being eliminated would play on their minds when they go out against Mumbai Indians (MI) here on Saturday, KKR’s bowling coach Lakshmipathy Balaji’s somewhat philosophical take was: “I look at it the other way around. KKR may get to No 1 (with a big win). You normally live your life with circumstances and opportunities…. This is another opportunity to decide where we are heading towards in this tournament.”
Should KKR notch up a comprehensive win on Saturday and better MI’s net run rate, it may keep them on top of the standings should some other results go their way.
The ability of the players to connect too has made KKR a team to reckon with, said the former India pacer. “We have been in a good space within ourselves, enjoying each other’s company, the friendship amid all the different cultures. All these things in a tournament where you are out of house and often without family for six weeks are important to bind as a team.”
That bonding has forged some crucial bowling partnerships, said Balaji. Such as Umesh Yadav bowling alongside Chris Woakes, he said. Woakes has 17 wickets so far and Yadav 14. Or a Kuldeep Yadav with Sunil Narine. “We have already touched some good numbers (in bowling),” he said.
Balaji didn’t give a specific answer to whether KKR have been able to bring their A game to any of their 13 matches but said “we have found ways to get to the position we are in right now. We have had a bit of hiccups with injuries but the team has shown character. It’s not one game; we have defended low totals as well as chased down big totals….We have a strong bench strength as well.”
And the former KKR and India bowler said going forward, there won’t be too many changes in the way the Knights approach games in IPL 10. “We will stick to what we can control and what comes to us naturally,” he said.