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Sunday , April 7 , 2013
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We approach every game as if it’s the last: Jacques

‘T20 has changed the face of cricket’
Jacques Kallis

Calcutta: Jacques Kallis, a South Africa and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) stalwart, spoke to The Telegraph at the ITC Sonar on Saturday morning.

The interaction took place around an hour before the 37-year-old Kallis and his teammates left for Jaipur.

KKR’s next match is against the Rahul Dravid-led Rajasthan Royals on Monday.

Kallis was indisposed, with a stomach bug on Friday, but said he was “getting there,” fitness-wise.

Brett Lee and Lakshmipathy Balaji had the same problem. Both, however, were also recovering.

The following are excerpts

Thoughts on KKR getting points on board in the very first match (of IPL-VI) as the defending champions...

We know the home conditions pretty well and have found a certain way of playing at the Eden. We’d like to play the way we did last season and, yeah, it’s nice to have started on the note we did, against the (Delhi) DareDevils. Going forward, one out of one makes it easier.

If, being the holders of the IPL trophy, there’s more pressure this year...

Don’t think so... We approach every game as if it’s the last, that it means everything. There’s no use worrying about added pressure, just go out and play better cricket than the opposition.

The difference-making element in KKR’s 2012 campaign...

We played a good brand of cricket and won the big moments in key matches. We raised our game when we needed to.

Agenda for this year...

(Grins) Keep our feet on the ground, play the big moments better than the opposition, enjoy each other’s company.

His KKR experience from 2011...

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it... I’ve worked hard on my T20 game over the last few years.

T20 as a format...

I feel it has changed the face of cricket. It has made the game quicker and, as long as there’s no overkill, it’s fine.

If he’s looking forward to catching up with Dravid in Jaipur...

Of course. I’m looking forward to catching up with all the guys (in the IPL) who don’t play international cricket any more.

Happy not having to face lethal compatriot Dale Steyn at the international level...

(Grins) Yeah... Look, Dale’s a bowler of such high quality... We, in South Africa, are fortunate to have such a top-class attack... Conditions back home are tough for batsmen and our attack is right up there with the best.

Steyn’s USP...

His consistency, work ethic... Dale has an unbelievably good action. If a guy like him bowls at 140-150 kmph, there’s not much that batsmen can do. It’s great to watch him from first slip.

South Africa’s attack being regarded as the best around...

It’s top-class, but there are other good attacks as well. It depends on who gets it right on the day... Having said that, if you look at the statistics, our guys have probably got it right more often than the others. That’s why we’re playing the type of cricket we have been.

Sunrisers Hyderabad’s emphatic win, powered by Steyn’s burst of three wickets in four balls, on Friday...

I didn’t see Dale’s performance live, for I tend not to watch any cricket when I’m not playing... That’s one way of switching off... But, yes, I’ve heard about Dale’s feat. Didn’t surprise me.

Senior-most pro Sachin Tendulkar, just days away from his 40th birthday, still going strong...

Only he can make the call (to retire).... He’ll know when that time has come.

Finally, his take on the Oscar Pistorius affair...

Well, we don’t really know what exactly happened... We’ll have to wait and see what comes out in court. We need to know the truth before commenting. One just has to wait.