Yusuf Pathan’s 22-ball 72 made KKR believe they could actually win IPL 7, coach Trevor Bayliss told HT on Tuesday. “It benefited not only Yusuf but the whole team.”
Bayliss said the Knights now have the squad to consistently make semi-finals and the final. “I think this side is more balanced and probably in a better position to go forward than the one that won in 2012. We have the capability to be consistently good. Our challenge will be to re-find that form when we regroup for the Champions League and next year’s IPL.”
After four straight losses, KKR seemed far from the team they ended up being and Bayliss said the defeat to Rajasthan Royals in Ahmedabad was the turning point. “It wasn’t just a wake-up call; the players felt a certain amount of embarrassment at the way we played. The guys felt they needed to show they were better cricketers than how it looked that night.”
The strength of KKR’s bowling unit, Bayliss said, sunk in “only after the dust settled down from the auction… If you can’t use someone like Vinay Kumar, it just shows how strong your bowling unit is. Patrick Cummins played just the one game. I am sure in another year or with some other team some of our bowlers would have played a lot more.”
Having the “best bowling attack in the competition” also meant that KKR didn’t need to score big to win many games. “We also didn’t have that one, huge big (batting) star who would have a lot riding on him. We had the type of batters who, if they played good cricket shots we would get good scores,” he said.
Cricket’s shortest format would have a positive impact overall, said Bayliss, 51. “In my time, 80 would be a good score in 20 overs. Just like one-dayers impacted Tests with batsmen scoring faster, there being different kinds of deliveries and different kinds of shots, athleticism on the field, I think the same thing is going to happen in one-dayers and Tests because of T20.”
Helming two successful T20 teams (he is also coach of the Sydney Sixers) and coaching New South Wales makes Bayliss a busy man. The din and bustle of the IPL over, he starts off-season fitness training with New South Wales next week.