The Telegraph
Monday , June 2 , 2014
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Gautam lauds Manish’s fearlessness

Bangalore: Gautam Gambhir wasn’t ready to compare the IPL VII triumph with the one achieved in 2012. However, he felt that Sunday’s victory would remain special because it came after going through a lot of difficulties in the UAE leg.

The Kolkata Knight Riders lost five of their first seven matches before making an amazing turnaround that saw them win nine matches on the trot on way to the title.


Comparing the 2012 triumph with the current one

It’s difficult to compare the two. After the first seven games, not many gave us a chance. We lost five of those matches. But thereafter we were a changed side. Nine victories in a row show the character and belief within the team. The players showed character. This one will obviously be very close to my heart and remain very, very special… More because we were also chasing 200…

The feeling after the victory

Very satisfying… We’ve always maintained that we wanted a good bowling attack... We went about in the same manner at the auctions… We felt a good bowling attack can always take pressure off the batsmen.

That’s how it has happened… Don’t forget we’ve been the only side that has chased 200 successfully in this tournament… The only side that has chased 160 in 14.2 overs… It shows that our batting has been brilliant as well.

The turning point

There have been quite a few in fact… But the most important turning point has been Yusuf Pathan’s 72 off 22 balls in the match against Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Eden… That victory gave us the confidence to have a crack at the Cup. The way he batted was amazing… Then Manish Pandey’s innings of 94 today was also brilliant.

The mood in the camp at the innings break

Obviously we were a bit disappointed after Kings XI managed to score 140 in the last ten overs. But we had the belief that achieving 200 couldn’t have been impossible.

It is such a ground where it is really difficult to defend. After they scored 199 in 20 overs, we thought if we could put up 60 runs in the first six overs, then we are in with chance. We always had this belief that we can chase the target down… especially after the way we batted against the Sunrisers Hyderabad in Calcutta.

A lot to credit has to go to the 20s and 30s… Yusuf’s 36 off 22 balls was very important. The way we managed to keep our nerves in the closing stages was simply wonderful.

Manish Pandey’s innings

We had a lot of faith in him when we bought him at the auctions. Not many sides knew of his abilities. He has been wonderful with his 20s and 30s right through the IPL. The most important thing is that he has delivered when it mattered. He has showed his talent and fearlessness through this innings… That, too in the final…

The coaching staff

The backroom staff has done wonders… Not much is said about them but they have been wonderful in their own way. Trevor Bayliss has given everyone the freedom to express themselves… He has worked successfully behind the scenes. Even Vijay Dahiya… I’ve played under him in the domestic circuit. Not much is spoken about him but he is one of the best Indian coaches around.

The season for him personally

It has been a roller coaster ride… If you finish the season by winning the IPL, you can’t really complain. It’s not about how you start, but about how you finish the season. This is what strong individuals are all about… Playing to potential.