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‘I worked hard on my T20 cricket’

Kolkata Knight Riders started their IPL VII campaign in Abu Dhabi in the best possible way, with a convincing win over defending champions Mumbai Indians. Captain Gautam Gambhir’s decision to bat first came good as the bowlers lived up to their captains expectations.

Excerpts:

Gautam Gambhir: It was a thoroughly professional performance. Before the toss, I said that we have a great bowling attack and if we can put runs on the board, most of the times we will end up on the winning side.

Jacques Kallis showed on Wednesday what it means to have a quality batsman up front. He knows how to build an innings and how to accelerate. I always believe that if either Kallis or I can bat right till the end, we can put up good totals given the depth in our batting.

Our bowling also has a lot of variety. We have somebody like Morne Morkel who has got pace and bounce, which is going to be difficult for batsmen on any kind of a track. Then there is Sunil Narine, Piyush Chawla and Shakib al-Hasan. Vinay Kumar is a good death over bowler.

Rohit Sharma: Disappointing to start on a winning note. But it’s just the first game of the season. It’s a long tournament and a lot of matches are still left. There are a lot of things to learn from this game. We will take the positives, although there weren’t many.

I hope the guys stay positive and enjoy each other’s company. That’s important in a long tournament.

KKR batted really well. Also we didn’t bowl well and couldn’t get wickets when we needed. They knew they have eight wickets in hand and so could go after the bowling freely.

We tried our best. Lasith Malinga bowled really well. I hope the boys can turn it around as quickly as possible.

About the pitch, there was a fair bit of grass on the wicket, and some bounce too. But I won’t say the bounce was true.

Jacques Kallis (MoM): I had a few months off after my retirement. That was the time to heal a few niggles. It was also nice to catch up with my family and friends.

But I also worked hard on my T20 cricket. I felt fresh. Then I came to India and I just want to help KKR with a good season.

The pitch was nice. I found more bounce in the wicket than what we are used to in Abu Dhabi. It suited our style of play more. And then our new ball bowlers bowled really well. Morne and the others hit the right areas at the start, and then we cashed in on the good work at the death.

Morne, in particular, was great at the start, and then there is somebody like Narine who can take the game away very quickly.

I am not playing Test cricket anymore and perhaps that is why I am not afraid of putting my body on the line anymore. Moreover, I feel fresher physically after quitting Test cricket.

Or maybe because of the fact that I know I don’t have many more years of cricket left… may be a couple more. And so I am enjoying my cricket to the fullest for the last couple of years and have some fun in the middle.