At a time when the CLT20 is facing a low-key build-up, the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad couldn't have asked for a bigger name. But a lack of buzz isn't bothering Jacques Kallis. Instead, the new Kolkata Knight Riders captain is looking round off some unfinished business here.
Kolkata Knight Riders player Jacques Kallis checks his bat during net practice session for Champions League T20 in Hyderabad.
That's what the South Africa all-rounder said when HT caught up with him.
What motivates you to play T20? Do you feel it could eventually take away some years from your career?
I have always enjoyed playing T20, through IPL. Kolkata is practically my second home now. I have managed pretty well. I may even play the next ODI World Cup.
KKR fell short of reaching the IPL finals. Do you see this as a chance to atone for that?
We did play well to finish among the top bracket, but yes, not quite the way we would have wanted. So, this is definitely a chance to pick up things from where we had left it and go the extra yard.
How much will Gautam Gambhir's absence matter? Will captaincy be a burden?
Gauti is a world class player, and surely we will miss him. But then we have a side, which can play good cricket as a group, apart from some great individual talent who can pull it off under pressure. The pressure to perform is always there, but nothing extra as the skipper.
Many India players will return from a tiring England series. Do you think it'll affect their performance here?
It's been a long series for them, but T20 is a different ball game. And this is an important tournament.
What was the reason behind India's poor show in England?
India had just come out as the world champions and had a really long cricketing schedule. England had been peaking well and it's very difficult to beat them in their backyard.
Your views on England becoming the No.1 ranked Test team.
It's been quite some time that India had it and Australia before that. At the moment, with the quality of cricket they are playing, England definitely deserve to be at the top. But the ranking is at stake every time, and India, Australia, South Africa and England can replace each other anytime.
Rahul Dravid just retired from limited-overs cricket. Your views on him.
Dravid is not only a great cricketer for India but he has been an example for the entire cricketing world. He is a true ambassador of the game and a great human being too.