The Kolkata Knight Riders came into IPL 2013 wearing the tag of defending champions. Now, 12 games into the tournament, they are languishing at a lowly No.7 on the points table. Even after getting themselves into a situation where they have to win every match to have a chance of getting into the top four, the KKR team couldn’t find their fire and lost to the Mumbai Indians by 65 runs at the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday night.
After the match, a visibly dejected Lakshmipathy Balaji spoke to iplt20.com on coping with the tough phase. He also talked about his bowling figures of 3-1-7-0 even as Sachin Tendulkar led the rampage for MI to a 170-run total.
Three overs for seven runs against the MI batting line-up – does a bowling performance like this at times feel better than the wickets?
Wickets are very important in T20. The extension of picking wickets is bowling dot balls and creating pressure. It is crucial to get the early breakthroughs. Even if you bowl three maidens they will catch up later on in the game. But wickets will peg them back. I was trying to get wickets as well but it didn’t happen. It was good to bowl tight though.
Do you go with a separate plan for every batsman or stick to a uniform strategy?
There’s a bit of individual planning depending on whether the batsman is good on off-side or leg-side. What his release shot is and where he normally gets out – is it for the in-dipper or the away going ball? You just try to put the batsmen in a situation he is not comfortable in. But at the end of the day, a good length is good length and it’s not going to change depending on the format or the batsman.
How has Brett Lee taken to the mentoring role?
I have shared various experiences with Brett Lee since 2011. We’ve shared the new ball, bowled in tandem. Bowling with a leading international bowler like him is a dream. When he becomes your mentor it’s an added advantage. It’s not only about what you do during the match but also how you prepare for it and think about your game off the field matters. He’s one of the greatest mentors we could get.
What has gone wrong with KKR this season?
We were one of the teams to look forward to, given what we had achieved in the last two seasons. We haven’t lived up to that promise despite having so much potential in the dressing room. I believe the main reason is that we haven’t combined different aspects of the game well. It’s either our bowling that clicks or the batting. We haven’t been able to do well in both departments at the same game. We still have four more games to go and we will give our 100 per cent to them.
Is too much desperation to win doing you in?
We don’t play our cricket with desperation and always enjoy our cricket. We enjoy each other’s success and stand by each other in times of failures. That is a good thing to have in a team. This quality has taken us to the heights that we achieved in the first two seasons.