| Yusuf Pathan, in Jaipur, on Thursday |
One week into the tournament, I am pretty happy with the way things are panning out for the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). It was a good, solid win the other night where everybody made a contribution, and when everyone chips in, a positive result is always there for the taking.
What is heartening about the group is the fact that there is a relaxed, yet positive vibe about it. A lot of credit for this must go to the team owners. This is a truly chilled out team with the owners never really interfering in the cricket aspect, preferring instead to leave it to the cricket people.
The support staffs also bring such a wealth of experience with them and its great to work with such accomplished cricket minds. Wasim Akram is a legend and his presence, as well as his inputs, really adds a lot of value to the unit.
Dav Whatmore is also a chilled out, relaxed kind of a coach who has the ability to make the players enjoy the game instead of getting tense. Its a healthy atmosphere to work in and I would give the people who are behind the scenes and not on the field full credit for this.
With such an atmosphere, its good to look ahead to our next contest, against Rajasthan Royals at Jaipur. They have two wins behind them and are a very good side.
Their attack has good balance of pace and spin, but most of us have had some time in the middle over the last two games, and if we continue our good form, we should be able to put up a good score. There will be a lot of curiosity around the performance of Yusuf Pathan. After all, the Rajasthan Royals was his team till last year. That brings an extra something to the contest and I am sure you will see that on Friday.
Hopefully, the desire to do well against his earlier mates will keep him on his toes and he would be hungry to get into action after two quiet games.
As I said, our batsmen have been doing quite well and while we have not had one huge stellar knock, Jacques Kallis looks in an ominous form. It has been a privilege to share the dressing room with one of the greats of the game and its wonderful to see what a thorough pro he has been.
He is so clear about his role and his presence has an air of quiet, solid dependability.
The other guy who has been impressive in both outings is Manoj Tiwary. We were teammates in Delhi in the first two seasons, and he has improved remarkably over the last couple of years.
He was always a powerful hitter, but now he is timing the ball well and seems to be mature and selective too. He comes in at a crucial stage where flexibility is important and Manoj has it in him to play at various gears.
We play Rajasthan in back-to-back games and that makes it crucial for us to get the upper hand on Friday. Its pretty warm but since its not humid, heat would not be a factor on Friday. Both teams are coming in with a lot of confidence, but its important for us to be the team that heads to Calcutta with a win under our belt.