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HindustanTimes Thu,25 Dec 2014

Cricket Columns

Happy to be Kallis, even if for 60 seconds
Gautam Gambhir
April 10, 2013
First Published: 23:41 IST(10/4/2013)
Last Updated: 23:43 IST(10/4/2013)

I have shared the dressing room with some very special cricketers. One of them is Jacques Kallis. Although he has achieved so much on the cricket field, he has loads of humility to go with it. Something I feel is a rare combination to have in today's fly-by-night times. The latest I've heard on Jacques is he is one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Year. Well done, Jacques!

I too had that rare moment of being in his shoes, or should I say the pleasure of "Being Kallis". The other day when I was travelling, the airline baggage tag on my suitcase and kitbags read KALLIS/JACQ (Jacques Kallis) and not my name. I wonder if someone in the airline staff was trying to flatter me (hopefully) or were they raising the bar for me (impossible to achieve?) or it was simply one of those group check-in scenarios where all bags are tagged in one name (NO!!!). Whatever it was, I felt like a 60-second legend!

Picture of calm
Seeing Jacques' calmness, I sometimes feel even if the world is crashing around him his pulse and heartbeat won't be challenged. It is reassuring to look around the dressing room and see the different personalities. While we have Jacques, we also have the livewire Brett Lee, assistant coach Vijay Dahiya, leg-spinner Sarabjit Ladda, young Pradeep Sangwan and experienced pros like Balaji, Haddin, Laxmi Ratan Shukla.

It is all the more reason why I feel disappointed when with this kind of personnel we still end up losing like we did in Jaipur. I always tell myself there are enough players in my team who can put their hand up and be counted. Anyway, in that game the buck should stop with me as I played an awful stroke. I would like to apologise to the fans for that. For the first time in about 18 months of our marriage, my wife Natasha too admonished me. Her first words were, "How could you get out like that?" When someone like her, who still thinks silly point is not a fielding position but a cricketing slang for a joke, is criticising, you know you have committed hara-kiri. Sorry Natasha!

Bundle of energy
By the way, we also welcomed our "energy bar" Brendon McCullum into the fold. He checked in on Tuesday night and we met at the breakfast table on Wednesday. Apart from being one of the most talented and energetic cricketers, he is also the most good looking one around. A strong jaw-line, a smile loaded with dimples, tattoos, and a great team man above all. He was at the nets straightaway and is very much available for selection.

We are in Bangalore and are waiting for action to begin against the RCB. Half my day is gone answering questions on how will we stop Chris Gayle. Bowl well I guess, and take our chances. One suggestion from a more enlightened teammate was to lock him in his room. We have left him alone in his fantasy world.

I am now looking forward to seeing which baggage tag I get when I travel from Bangalore!

Kaizen Media Solutions

The writer is KKR skipper


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