The Telegraph
Wednesday , May 21 , 2014
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Not thinking too far ahead, says Gauti

Calcutta: After yet another professional performance that brought about Kolkata Knight Riders’ fifth successive victory in IPL VII, Gautam Gambhir hailed the character and talent of his side.

“Today’s win shows a lot of talent and a lot of character as well… We have a lot of strong characters sitting in the dressing room and we always believed that it’s just a matter of time before we turn it around,” said the Knight Riders captain.

“We were professional with both bat and ball. The bowlers restricting CSK to 154 was a fantastic effort. We had not seen so much grass on the wicket but we might get this in all the remaining matches.

“We are not thinking too far ahead. We want to be professional and take each game at a time. The spinners have been bowling well and hopefully they can continue doing that. Even (Pat) Cummins and Umesh (Yadav) bowled well… Credit must also be given to them because they are not given due credit most of the times.”

Gambhir didn’t forget to mention Robin Uthappa, who picked up his third Man of the Match award of IPL VII on Tuesday. Uthappa has reaped the rewards for sticking to the basics.

“I have always enjoyed batting at the Eden. It is one of my favourite grounds. It is also a lucky ground for me because I have always played well here. I am happy that I could contribute to the team’s cause in a meaningful manner,” Uthappa said.

“The wicket was nice… The ball was coming on to the bat pretty well. The dew factor also helped the cause. I thought that if I could time the ball well and hit it in the gaps, the fast outfield would take it to the boundary.

“When I went out to bat, I didn’t have any particular plan. I just wanted to play each ball according to its merit. In T20 cricket, you can lose your shape while trying to hit the ball harder. You will try more subconsciously to hit the ball hard.

“That’s something I have been working on for some time... Not to lose my shape. There’s no point doing it because if you are in shape, you can hit it hard without trying much,” explained Uthappa.

Uthappa also praised Shakib-al Hasan who provided the finishing touches to the victory with an unbeaten 46. “Shakib was excellent… He batted sensibly. Credit must also be given to Manish (Pandey)… His staying at the other end was important.”

Uthappa dedicated the MoM award to his friend’s pet, Muffin. “She is a very close friend’s pet... A cocker spaniel... I promised that if I get the next Man of the Match award, I would dedicate it to her. She is very special...”

Uthappa felt there was no secret behind his success. “I’m just focused on holding good shapes... The ball does a bit in the first six overs. So it’s important to hold your composure and shape, especially when you are opening the batting.

“You need to give your team a good start. So the plan is very simple. I just try to find the gaps in the field and try to play the ball very late. That’s been the intent... Watching the ball on to the bat and then playing my shot.”

He said they didn’t have a plan in mind when deciding to field first.

“We don’t have a plan as such. This is our first home match. We are playing at our homeground after a long time in the tournament. So we didn’t know how the wicket would behave and what will be a par score on this wicket. Since we have chased down targets successfully, so we thought we would field first.

For Gambhir, being back among runs have been as pleasant as being a father.

“I wasn’t getting runs initially. But I always believe that individual performances have no place in my side if they can’t contribute to the team’s cause. More than my off-form, I was more disappointed that the team wasn’t winning. Unless that is not happening, there’s no point scoring big runs.”