Kolkata: Dinesh Karthik, who has been there and done that in the IPL, wants the Kolkata Knight Riders to fall back on the ‘‘positive and aggressive’’ brand of cricket they are known for if they want to complete a turnaround and make the play-offs during the UAE leg of the tournament.
The Knights are in a bit of spot at the moment as they are languishing at the seventh spot with two wins, but ‘DK’ - as he is popular as - is ready for the challenge.
“Last year when we were in UAE, we missed it (qualifying for play-offs) by a whisker. We won as many matches as the last team had won but still just missed it by a whisker. Two years on the trot, we have been fifth on the table. That’s something that still gnaws at me,” said the former captain, who got down to his first practice session in Abu Dhabi after going through the quarantine on Monday.
An effervescent character, the former Indian wicketkeeper-batsman made a smart debut as a TV pundit in England before he flew to the UAE after the third India-England Test.
“Overall as a team, I think we are in a decent space. We need to gel together as a group and make a difference this time. We want to win 6 out of 7 matches (to qualify). It’s as simple as that. As a team that’s what we’ll be looking to do. ven Take one game at a time but try and win 6 out of 7 matches,” said Karthik, who looked in fine touch as assistant coach Abhishek Nayar was spotted bowling to him at the nets.
The 2020 edition of IPL saw the Knights moving really close to qualifying for the knockout stage, but finished fifth owing to a not-so-healthy Net Run Rate last year. Midway during the season, Karthik decided to surrender the captaincy to Eoin Morgan, England’s white ball captain even though the veteran continues to be very much a part of the team’s think tank.
“KKR is known to play very positive and aggressive cricket. I want that to come through in the second half. I still think the team spirit is good. We’re positive and we’ve a coach (Brendon McCullum) who’s always infusing positivity into us,” he said.
Finally, Karthik made an appeal to the demanding fans of the KKR franchise: “As fans, all I want to say is keep supporting us. We’ll try and play a brand of cricket that’ll make you proud. It did put a smile on your face at various points during the last two IPLs. We’ll try and put a bigger smile this time around.”