'Gautam Gambhir can't enter the field': Kaif credits Shreyas Iyer in strong remark over KKR's exceptional IPL 2024 run | Crickit
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'Gautam Gambhir can't enter the field': Kaif credits Shreyas Iyer in strong remark over KKR's exceptional IPL 2024 run

May 24, 2024 07:39 PM IST

Gautam Gambhir has credited with KKR's brilliant run to the final this year, but Mohammad Kaif insisted that it has more to do with how Iyer led his troops.

Kolkata Knight Riders became the first team to book a place in the final of the 2024 Indian Premier League on Tuesday when it defeated the Sunrisers Hyderabad in Qualifier 1. KKR put up a dominant show, clinching a one-sided win; they bowled the Sunrisers out for 159 and then chased the target down in just 13.4 overs. The Knight Riders have been the most consistent side this season, and had also topped the league stage with 20 points.

Kolkata Knight Riders' captain Shreyas Iyer (L), mentor Gautam Gambhir (R) and Head Coach Chandrakant Pandit during a practice session (PTI)
Kolkata Knight Riders' captain Shreyas Iyer (L), mentor Gautam Gambhir (R) and Head Coach Chandrakant Pandit during a practice session (PTI)

Much of the credit for the side's brilliant performances this season has been given to the return of KKR's two-time IPL-winning captain, Gautam Gambhir, as a mentor. His arrival saw the return of Sunil Narine in the opening spot, a move that gave significant rewards to the Knight Riders. Narine produced blistering performances throughout the season and is currently the side's highest run-scorer (482 runs in 14 matches).

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While the experts have thus largely credited KKR's success this season to the return of Gambhir, former India batter Mohammad Kaif contends that the true driving force behind their impressive performance is Shreyas Iyer's leadership and his adept management of the team on the field.

“We always talk about (Gautam) Gambhir, but he can't enter the field... in the rope with the players. Iyer has been there with the players, and it will help him grow as a person and player,” Kaif told PTI.

"He missed out on the (T20) World Cup this year (beginning in the US and West Indies next month), but certainly it's great learning for him, captaining the team, leading it to the finals. He has a great future ahead," said Kaif.

KKR favourites, says Kaif

Kaif asserted that KKR are the clear favourites to clinch the IPL trophy this season, emphasizing that their quality bowlers and well-balanced squad provide the essential ingredients for a championship-winning team.

"I think KKR is a very well-balanced side. Tournament-winning team has to have good bowlers, KKR has got the bowlers. You saw how (Mitchell) Starc bowled against (SRH in Qualifier 1), it's a balanced side. KKR has got all bases covered in terms of batting and bowling. They are the team to beat in IPL, they are way ahead."

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