regular-article-logo Monday, 05 June 2023

Bring on the pressure, Nitish Rana ready to rock

KKR's new leader pads up for the challenge & wants to do it his way

Sayak Banerjee Calcutta Published 29.03.23, 05:23 AM
KKR coach Chandrakant Pandit and captain Nitish Rana at the team hotel in Calcutta on Tuesday

KKR coach Chandrakant Pandit and captain Nitish Rana at the team hotel in Calcutta on Tuesday Picture by Sayak Banerjee 

Since his arrival in the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) set-up, Nitish Rana has played under Dinesh Karthik, Eoin Morgan and Shreyas Iyer. Obviously, he has learnt a fair bit from all of them.

However, when it comes to captaincy, the left-handed batsman is focused on doing it his way and in his own style. “I like to take responsibility. The direction we are following as a team should lead us to our goal.


“I don’t follow anyone’s captaincy style. I just want to do it my way,” Rana, leading in the absence of regular skipper Shreyas, asserted on Wednesday.

“I know that if I follow someone, then somewhere I might lose my touch. So I want to lead this side the way I know and take it forward.”

KKR will be leaving on Thursday for Mohali, where they play their IPL 2023 opener against Punjab Kings this Saturday.

Captaincy-wise, the 29-year-old has led his state team Delhi in 12 Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy games and in some matches of last season’s Vijay Hazare Trophy (national one-dayers). Leading in the IPL isn’t quite the same thing, but Rana seems unfazed about it.

“At the end of the day, it’s cricket. Yes, situations will be different here (in the IPL) and match conditions are different too.

“What’s also important here is man-management. The competition is immense here with so many international players and players of repute around. Having said that, conditions and wickets in domestic cricket are a bit difficult than how they are here.

“The level here is bigger, so you get conditions and players on that basis. But you also have to look at the level of experience of the players in the IPL. For instance, (Andre) Russell has played almost 400-450 T20s, so has Sunny (Sunil Narine). With that much experience, there’s nothing for me to fear as they are all my helping hand.

“There’s Chandrakant (Pandit) Sir as well. So there are a lot of people with so much knowledge to turn to. If all of them help me, I’m sure we can do something really big this time,” an optimistic Rana elaborated.

Rana will also be trying to make sure pressure doesn’t faze him at critical junctures. “For me, this isn’t anything new. I’ve been playing a leadership role in this franchise for last two-three years. It’s just that the tag is of a captain this time.

“Now if I take extra pressure over a tag, then my game can get affected. Yeah, when you do something new for the first time, there’s some added pressure. But all said and done, I know I thrive under pressure and that’s when my game blossoms.”

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