The Telegraph
Wednesday , April 3 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Gauti’s got the respect of every player: Brett Lee


Calcutta: Brett Lee, one of the biggest names in the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), spoke to The Telegraph on the eve of IPL-VI.

Lee is, of course, through with playing for Australia. The 36-year-old retired with 310 wickets in Tests and 380 in ODIs.

The following are excerpts

His first few days as mentor...

(Smiles) It has been great, it’s a wonderful opportunity and I’m trying to put my best foot forward... We have quite a few experienced players and I’m focusing on the younger bowling group.

Full-time mentor Wasim Akram, who is in Pakistan, praising him in a one-on-one with this newspaper...

It’s very nice of Wasim... Obviously, he needs to spend time with his sons, which will be good for them and him.

Whether he’s a player first or mentor...

I’m here to play. I’m expected to give 100 per cent on the field, something I’ve done right through my career.

The non-KKR bowlers he’ll be following with interest...

Dale Steyn... Ravindra Jadeja. Look, every team has a few match-winning bowlers.

Gautam Gambhir as the KKR captain...

To talk of last year, when KKR won, Gauti put a lot of responsibility on the players... He allowed the bowlers to choose their fields... He wasn’t stubborn, but tough, when he needed to be. Gauti’s got the respect of every player. If a captain has that, he’s on a winning street.

Gambhir currently being out of the national team...

Gauti shouldn’t worry about what has happened in the last few months, but stay focused and take confidence from KKR’s performance last year... We teammates have to encourage him... He joined our preparations after a few days and it’s great to have him around... It’s a different feel when the leader is in your midst.

Factors which made the difference for KKR last year...

We gelled as a team... You could have the best players, but the team needs to gel and to deliver on the field. Credit to Gauti and credit to Trevor Bayliss and Vijay Dahiya... Credit to Shah Rukh Khan too... He’s such a chilled-out owner and doesn’t get involved in cricketing matters... He lets you do your work on the field. That helps... Looking back, I’d say we were a tight unit. We were consistent when it mattered and every single person contributed to our success.

Finally... the No.1 challenge for KKR...

Having realised a dream, the hard part is to try and reinvent ourselves... It’s difficult to say whether it’s tough getting to the top or staying there... One could answer that both ways.