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‘KKR can create magic’

Calcutta/New Delhi: South Africa-born adventurer Mike Horn shared his experiences with Kolkata Knight Riders as part of their build-up to the upcoming Indian Premier League and said the team was capable of creating magic this season.

“I find working with KKR really relaxing. The surrounding is much more relaxed than the other teams I’ve worked with before. I think the coach understands the players and he’s got confidence in the players,” Horn, who has earlier worked with the India and South Africa sides, said after a meeting with the KKR players.

Horn, who joined the KKR camp in UAE where the first leg of the event is to be held from April 16 to 30, said the players have it in them to win the trophy.

“I think the selection of the players was very well done and there was a lot of research in who they wanted to play for the team… That makes it a very well balanced team. By just being with them for a couple of days now, I can see how the players are slowly but truly integrating into each other,” he said. “Whereas with other teams I have worked before, players kept their distance and there was a lot more pressure on the players. In this team, the players can play with much more freedom,” he added.

Horn said KKR was a talented outfit. “This is what makes me a fighter because being in IPL for a while now and seeing how the teams have evolved… It’s not always the big names that make the best team… It’s the best team that makes it the best team and the winning team,” he said. “So I think KKR is going to be a team that people might question on paper, but is actually full of talent,” he added.

Horn also spoke to a Dubai-based newspaper. “I was able to cultivate a little bit spirit in the mind of the boys when I was with the Indian team and with South Africa with (former coach) Gary (Kirsten) and it helped. You know in this format it is very important to go out there with the will to win, and if we can cultivate that in a well-balanced team, (there’s) nothing like it,” he said.

Horn added that there is no need to teach IPL players how to bowl and bat, but all they need was to know how to ‘act in a short time’. “I think the psychological part is very important because they need to deal with the pressure. You have got different nationalities, cultures and then to work as a team knowing that you don’t really need to like your teammate but willing to fight it out together on the field is important to establish very early,” said Horn.

“The window [of the league] of seven weeks is very short to build a strong bond, and one has to act straight away from day one,” he added.

“Being best prepared for seven weeks and maintaining a stable line is important. There will always be peaks, lows, ups and downs. One of the major problems that I have seen in players is the pressure of delivering.”