‘Kolkata Knight Riders need one more win to be in IPL 2017 play-offs’
Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir previews his team’s IPL 2017 clash against Royal Challengers Bangalore and recalls some memorable moments in the city, in his column for Hindustan Timesipl 2017 Updated: May 07, 2017 13:28 IST
Today we play in Bangalore, a city I wish I could wrap and take home. Of late it has got a lot busy though. The other tiring change is the time it takes to reach the new airport from the city. I think I could merit another round of shave after completing this arduous trip! (IPL 2017 FULL COVERAGE)
Other than that the place is lovable. It is young, people are friendly. There are enough purists in this land of GR Vishwanath and Rahul Dravid. The parks are clean and we haven’t yet discussed the coffee that they serve. For the record I am tilted towards cold coffee and not the filtered one.
Another Chinnaswamy recollection is that of a tied World Cup game against England in 2011. What a match! Besides, the 2014 IPL title win also came here. But what Bangalore memories will I be sharing with my grandchildren?
Well, they will be from my days with the National Cricket Academy inaugural batch. It was the year 2000. Yuvraj Singh, Mohammed Kaif, Murali Karthik, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan and many more such talented names were there.
One day we were all asked to fill an NCA form. It was all smooth except one section where one of my future India teammates fumbled and left us in raptures. The simple question asked in the form was: “Mother tongue.” To which my friend replied “pink” thinking that NCA mandarins wanted to know the colour of the tongue rather than the language!
One more nugget came when the then NCA director Mr Hanumant Singh was speaking to another of my future India teammates. The late Mr Singh asked: “Vikas, (name changed to preserve my friendship), are you feeling home-sick?” My friend replied, “No sir, nobody is sick at my home, all are healthy.” Let’s move on.
We are at seven wins in 11 games and have been searching for one more to be absolutely safe for playoffs. Well, I won’t mind if we win this game against RCB and another chapter is added to my love-affair with this city.
We had an intense round of practice on Saturday evening. Both my injured teammates Chris Lynn and Robin Uthappa took active part. So, the good news is that both are available for selection.
With RCB crashing out of this year’s IPL even the pitch here seems to have lost interest. Normally, it presents the best chance for batsmen but of late it has gone a tad slow and low. I am in two halves whether to go spin or pace in my bowling combination. Let’s see.
In the previous two games we have been beaten by one batsman, David Warner from Hyderabad and Rahul Tripathi from Pune. They both were exceptional and I think I have already set my eyes on Rahul.
On both occasions our bowling plans failed. We tried pace, we tried change-ups and change-downs, spin etc, but nothing worked.
More than the bowlers the buck stops with me. Maybe I wasn’t smart with bowling changes. Maybe there was a case of using Kuldeep Yadav and Sunil Narine differently, at least against Pune.
I am thinking of going to watch Bahubali-2 with some of my teammates. Another plus point of Bangalore is that one of my friends owns a multiplex here, so houseful or not, there is always room for me and my friends.
Selfish? Agreed. On second thoughts, I am thinking, afterall, why did NCA want to know our mother tongue!
(Gautam Gambhir is the captain of Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League. He writes exclusively for Hindustan Times.)