IPL 2013 April 2, 2013

'Time to play fearless cricket' - Gambhir

ESPNcricinfo staff

Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir has asked his side to play "fearless cricket," ahead of the opening game of the IPL 2013 season, against Delhi Daredevils at Eden Gardens. Knight Riders are the defending champions, having won the title in 2012 after several poor seasons.

"We've got the monkey off our back. Now is the time to go out there and play fearless cricket," Gambhir said on the eve of the match. He said Knight Riders would not be affected by Brendon McCullum's absence, after the New Zealand batsman suffered a hamstring problem, saying there was "a lot of quality in the dressing room".

Gambhir also said his focus was on performing for his franchise and insisted the IPL was not just a comeback platform for the national side. He had been dropped for the first two Tests against Australia and then missed out on selection for the next two Tests due to an illness. "I don't play for individuals but for a team called KKR," Gambhir said. "I am a part of the team which is the defending champion. I don't see IPL as my comeback platform."

Daredevils team mentor TA Sekar was happy with the performances that Irfan Pathan and Yadav had shown in a few matches prior to the IPL. Yadav picked up a five-wicket haul against Odisha in a domestic T20 tournament recently, while Irfan also got his fitness back. "I think bowlers today are very intelligent and they know how to keep themselves fit," Sekar said, adding that McCullum's absence had leveled the playing field between the teams.

Delhi Daredevils' coach Eric Simons was happy with the fitness of his bowlers ahead of the game against Knight Riders. "There are a few teams who are struggling with injuries," Simons said. "But one of the positives is that they are coming from an injury lay-off and they all are fresh. Umesh Yadav bowled really well at the nets. Hopefully that`s something that would go in our favour."

While admitting the absence of Kevin Pietersen and Jesse Ryder was disappointing, Simons said he was happy with the trade that brought in Ashish Nehra in place of New Zealand's Ross Taylor.

"This year there`s a lot of innovation in the team selection," Simons said. "We have more options, having learnt the lessons. We have traded well. We have got a lot of variations now."

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  • Dummy4 on April 3, 2013, 9:32 GMT

    If you can read this gauti, go for Morgan who himself is a fearless cricketer while batting and fielding and can set an example amongst the team

  • Dummy4 on April 3, 2013, 9:29 GMT

    Well said Gauti. But this needs to be implemented on ground by you and teammates. There are chances of fearful or you can say possibility watchful cricket to be played in this shorter version of the game by your team members unless you set an example to be fearless. Remember your innings of T20 WC and ODI WC where you played this type of cricket and came out champion. Give freedom Kaalis also to go for strokes after middling the ball once who tend to be in same gear throughout the inning (at least 80% of his inning).

  • Dummy4 on April 3, 2013, 9:12 GMT

    I totally agree with 'the_blue_android', I hate to see his 'dabs to third man' method. If I see that happening again in test cricket I would throw up. He is now a senior team member, he should be ashamed of what he does facing a bouncer. I know there was Ganguly before him doing the same, but he was million times better and a legend in all other aspects. I feel sorry when I see Gambhir seeking a single though third man. I don't know who gave him this fearless tag... But I should admit that he has good timing and that is the only positive about Gambhir. I hope we don't see him in test cricket again. But sad to realize that I would be proved wrong soon!!

  • VaRUN on April 3, 2013, 2:18 GMT

    Time to play fearless cricket. That means lots of dabs to the third man. Unfortunately even his fearful cricket is exactly the same. Attempts at dabbing the ball to the third man. This works in dead pitches like India but never abroad. Start playing in the V gauti and you may come back into the team.

  • I on April 2, 2013, 23:14 GMT

    Was Gambhir reviewing tapes of his "fearless" performance against Mohammad Irfan when comparing this speech? Oh, wait...

  • Dummy4 on April 2, 2013, 17:59 GMT

    Sorry to say that Narine will be the biggest disappointment this year. He is actually an over rated bowler who was just lucky in his first year.now he is finished as the WI realise and drop him.

  • Vikram on April 2, 2013, 17:09 GMT

    Now, it is time for fearless flashing at anything close to the off stump.

  • Lakmal on April 2, 2013, 17:01 GMT

    looking forward to see Senanayake bowling with Narine. It will be a nightmare for the opposition.

  • Naman on April 2, 2013, 16:28 GMT

    Hope this guy comes back to the team. Murali Vijay despite all his performances in the recent test series doesn't seem like a good option for SA. Gambhir performed brilliantly in SA last time around. It was because of him India was able to draw the Cape Town test match and were able to give a fightback in the 1st Test match of that series. Anyways, let's hope that he performs well in the IPL and get selected for the Champions Trophy in England first. Also with the A tour to SA in the pipeline this IPL is going to be very important for Gambhir to stage a comeback whether he admits it in front of the media or not

  • Amol on April 2, 2013, 14:36 GMT

    We've got the monkey off our back - Ok mate, only time will decide that! And believe me its harder and harsher for KKR this time.........!!

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