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regular-article-logo Friday, 31 May 2024

Indian Premier League: Knights mentor Gautam Gambhir sets up 'happy dressing room'

Barring the seven-wicket away defeat to Chennai Super Kings in their previous game, the Knight Riders — set to be buoyed by principal owner Shah Rukh Khan's presence at the Eden on Sunday against Lucknow Super Giants — have done fairly well so far this season, ticking a good number of boxes to occupy the second position in the standings

Sayak Banerjee Calcutta Published 14.04.24, 07:38 AM
Kolkata Knight Riders mentor Gautam Gambhir (right) with players Nitish Rana and Rinku Singh and (picture right) Jamaican power-hitter Andre Russell during practice at Eden Gardens on Saturday, ahead of the Sunday afternoon clash with Lucknow Super Giants.

Kolkata Knight Riders mentor Gautam Gambhir (right) with players Nitish Rana and Rinku Singh and (picture right) Jamaican power-hitter Andre Russell during practice at Eden Gardens on Saturday, ahead of the Sunday afternoon clash with Lucknow Super Giants. Sanat Kumar Sinha

“A secure dressing room is a happy dressing room.” That’s what seems to be guiding the Kolkata Knight Riders in their IPL 2024 campaign.

Barring the seven-wicket away defeat to Chennai Super Kings in their previous game, the Knight Riders — set to be buoyed by principal owner Shah Rukh Khan's presence at the Eden on Sunday against Lucknow Super Giants — have done fairly well so far this season, ticking a good number of boxes to occupy the second position in the standings. Some of their youngsters like Angkrish Raghuvanshi and Ramandeep Singh — who turned 27 on Saturday — too have impressed.

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So, giving each of these players the necessary support and backing is essential for their success in this highly competitive tournament. And that necessitates a “secure, happy and winning dressing room”, emphasised Knights mentor Gautam Gambhir.

“I just tell the players the kind of quality they have, and that's the reason they are there in the dressing room. To become a good cricketer, you've got to be able to handle pressure really well.

“The IPL is serious, top-notch cricket. It's probably close to international cricket. So, when young players can perform well under that pressure, it will give them a lot of confidence as well,” Gambhir said on Saturday.

“It's all about believing in yourself. When you've got a ball in your hand, you need to think that you're better than the batter. It is very important to give young players a lot of security. A secure dressing room is a happy dressing room and a happy dressing room is a winning dressing room.”

Being in the Lucknow dugout in the last two editions, Gambhir is certainly aware of how the KL Rahuls and Nicholas Poorans operate. Is that an advantage for the Knights?

“They (Lucknow) know me as well,” was Gambhir’s prompt reply. “Everyone knows each other pretty well. It's all about how we play for three-and-a-half hours, which is very important.

“It's not that I'm going to plan something different for them. Besides, they don't know what I'm going to plan. And it's the same for them as well. So, probably it's even-stevens."

So far, KKR haven’t been able to beat Lucknow in the IPL. “It's a new day. And it really makes no difference,” Gambhir replied.

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