Calcutta: Till the final, on Sunday, the Kolkata Knight Riders’ Manish Pandey had scored just one fifty in IPL VII.
That fifty had been in the edition’s opening match, against the Mumbai Indians, in Abu Dhabi.
On the eve of the summit clash, against the Kings XI Punjab, motivator No.1 Mike Horn had a “session” with Manish, who knows the Chinnaswamy like the back of his hand.
The session wasn’t long, but made an impression: A day later, Manish scored an outstanding 94 — an innings which fetched him the MoM award and helped the Knights regain the trophy.
“I didn’t say much, but did remind Manish that, playing at home, he had the chance to become the hero... That he had the skill to step up in the biggest match of his career after IPL II... He did so,” Mike told The Telegraph.
Manish, for his part, acknowledged that the session with Mike had, indeed, been “very helpful.”
Mike came on board after an initiative taken by the Knights’ physical trainer (and former Team India hand), Adrian le Roux.
Speaking exclusively, Adrian said: “Mike’s such a dynamic person, somebody who has achieved success with cricket teams...
“In a team sport, you need the members to bond and Mike had done wonders with India and South Africa. I’m glad the franchise accepted my suggestion.”
Grinning, Adrian added: “It’s not easy to get hold of Mike... One day he’s off to the mountains... A few weeks later, he’s crossing an ocean... But, then, that’s him.”
Mike, one understands, will be approached to work “more regularly” with the Knights.