IPL 2014 newsfile May 20, 2014

Akram lauds 'exceptional leader' Gambhir

ESPNcricinfo staff

Gambhir an 'exceptional leader' - Akram

After suffering five defeats from their first seven games, Kolkata Knight Riders have now won four on the trot to keep their hopes of reaching the playoffs on track. Wasim Akram, Knight Riders' mentor, credited the captain Gautam Gambhir's return to form, as well as their experienced bowling attack for the team's resurgence.

"Gautam is an exceptional leader and his results are there for all to see," Akram told the Times of India."The way he has come back to form after the first few disappointments says a lot about his mental strength. He is someone who leads from the front.

"Sunil Narine, Morne Morkel and Umesh Yadav have all played cricket at the highest level, and have a lot of experience. Even with the likes of (Vinay) Kumar, (Piyush) Chawla and Shakib - it is all about helping them to approach a game from the psychological perspective."

Akram also hailed Suryakumar Yadav as one of the positives in Knight Riders' season.

"I reckon the find of the season for us has been Suryakumar Yadav. The way he batted in the first few matches has been very impressive, and he is also an exceptional fielder."

Steyn plays up KL Rahul, Karn Sharma

Sunrisers Hyderabad seamer Dale Steyn has tipped his team-mates KL Rahul and Karn Sharma to have bright futures with India. While Karn has had a decent campaign, snaring eight wickets from 11 games, Rahul has not struck form, though Steyn believes that the wicketkeeper-batsman has "serious class" to stake a claim for a place in the national team in the future.

"KL Rahul is, in my opinion, a man destined to play for India. He hasn't quite scored the runs he would have liked this year, but I've seen a few batsmen in my career and he is serious class," Steyn wrote in his column for the Times of India . "I don't believe in curses or jinxes which is why I'm happy to express my opinion about him. It may not happen this year, or even next, but I expect him to play for his country under MS Dhoni at some point.

"Karn Sharma is another team-mate I'm happy to shine my spotlight on. In a country with about a million good spinners, he has something different and stands out for me, both technically and mentally. So people can keep a lookout for his name in the future, too."

IPL has become extremely competitive - Shakib

Kolkata Knight Riders' Shakib Al Hasan believes the IPL has grown to become very competitive over the years, with the emphasis shifting from glamour and entertainment to "serious cricket".

"In the initial years, the IPL was seen as entertainment, not cricket. Today, the IPL is wholly about cricket, not entertainment," Shakib told the Telegraph. "Believe me, serious cricket is played in the IPL. Initially, everybody was learning, be it the franchises, the players or perhaps, even the fans. One could say that in the initial years, the focus was more on glamour but not now."

Shakib also said that while the four-foreigner rule was sometimes frustrating, professional players had to take such decisions in their stride.

"It's frustrating when you have to sit out, but as a professional, one has to understand that the franchise may not play you in every match. That conditions vary and, so, the composition of the XI will have to change. Some things just aren't in the hands either of the team management or the player from overseas."

Duminy relishes finisher role

With 357 runs from 12 innings at an average of 51, JP Duminy has been the silver lining in yet another disappointing Delhi Daredevils campaign. Duminy said that he was enjoying his new role as a finisher, but the team's dismal form meant that it ultimately counted for very little.

"I have enjoyed finishing games here as it is not something I have done too often at the international level. It was nice for me to get that role and do well to justify it," Duminy told iplt20.com. "I do take a lot of confidence out of it. But look, we have got a very good batting line-up and it's just that we have fired in patches.

"I am pretty pleased with my personal performances, but it does not really mean much when you're losing. The only way I can make things better is by improving my own performances and finding ways where I can help the team in other ways."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on May 21, 2014, 12:59 GMT

    The only reason KKR has reached where it is is because Uthappa has hit a vein of form, take uthappa out of the equation then KKR is back in the mid table region, and Gambhir nowhere, Gambhir has been able to hide in uthappas wake and score slowly without taking risks. I wish akram could call a spade a spade over here.

  • Cricket on May 21, 2014, 8:27 GMT

    @Satan_in_Game I agree that team efforts can also be in the bowling department but seriously, take out Narine from that attack and where does KKR end up? Chawla does well only because Narine builds pressure from the other end. Till last year, he was with KXIP and we all know what he did. Right now, he is getting the victims of Narine's fantastic build up and even then he gets hit quite a lot. Morkel is too inconsistent, same with Vinay and Umesh. Shakib is doing well, I agree. The same applies for batting, remove Uthappa and what have they done? There have been little contributions from the others, but nothing substantial and it was just building on his great start. KXIP has won when Maxi and Miller haven't fired. Their bowling hunts as a pack and if one has a bad day, the others aren't affected. Other teams like RR have done the same. KKR on the other hand needs Uthappa and Narine to perform every time. They need to win without these two to prove they play as a team.

  • Cricket on May 21, 2014, 8:13 GMT

    @Facebook User big names? Gambhir himself is one of the biggest names. Kallis has been a cricketing giant for almost 2 decades. Tendo is one of the best T20 specialists in the world. Shakib has been one of the top all rounders in the world for a while now. Pathan has a huge reputation. Morne Morkel is a SA test regular. Robin Uthappa is also one of the best batsmen in the country. Umesh is supposed to be the next big thing. I pretty much named the whole team and almost all of them are international players. You compare that to the uncapped performers of KXIP, RCB and CSK. Sandeep, Akshar, Shivam, Vohra, Rishi, Pandey, Chahal. How does KKR not have big players?

  • Dummy4 on May 21, 2014, 7:08 GMT

    As a suggestion!! May be it's a high time, the decision of playing 4 foreign players should be changed to at least 5. It's sometimes so boring to see the low standards of some local players making mockery of a game..

  • Zahirul on May 21, 2014, 4:04 GMT

    Team Efforts, I didn't know team efforts are only exhibited by the batsmen, not bowlers! KKR has always been best in bowling, and 5 of their 7 wins came batting 2nd, means bowlers made the chasing easy, yes in most games opponents been restrained between 140-160 odds. So, clearly it's the bowlers, and especially the spin Trios, now if they weren't complementing each other how they restricted kind of attacks of Punjab, Chennai got, even not like that someone had outstanding figure on a given day, it's all of them contributed either taking wickets or being economical, and that's call "Team Efforts". Even if you consider in batting, yes Utthapa was consistent, also GG's late resurgent helped them winning few matches, and whenever others got chances though target was never that big but contributed like occasionally Pathan, Shakib, RTD, Kallis. And in few matches, they did everything wrong, and they lost, so does other team as well,and not one player can bring 7 wins alone.

  • Cricket on May 21, 2014, 1:15 GMT

    @guatam That is exactly my point. Most teams do rely on one or two players but not KXIP, RR, SRH and till this year CSK. Have you not seen the IPL? Yes, Maxwell and Miller won the first 3 matches, but since then, KXIP has relied on consistent starts by Sehwag, Some good knocks by Saha, late surges from Bailey and recently, Vohra's audcity at the start. Their bowling has been spearheaded by Sandeep Sharma who has overshawdowed Johnson and Akshar Patel and Shivam Sharma have been tidy. Balaji and Dhawan have also contributed at various occasions. So thats pretty much everyone in the team and some reserves too. How is that only a two man show? RR also almost always wins through team efforts. When SRH win, they win because their bowling works well together. Every team does rely on a couple of players, but these teams have had others contributing consistently. Name one other player that has consistently helped Uthappa throughout the season.

  • Dummy4 on May 20, 2014, 20:13 GMT

    On paper they Panjab, CSK , RCB has better names than KKr. You cant compare warner, ABD, steyne, maxwell with rayan ten, shakib, chris len. IF you compare the names of KKR with other teams you will understand the batting blasy is not there. The only person that KKR has with a big name is Narine. The main reason KKR has done well because every one has contributed. Gambhir has done well in the choice of players and the bowling changes. Dropping Morkel today was a brave decision which worked out good.

  • Jo on May 20, 2014, 17:50 GMT

    Gambhir and Uthappa played opening in some games... Both know each other well... Uthappa is one of the sidelined players ahead of the strong presence of MSD, and same goes to Parthiv as well... I would say bad luck to them... it happened that the Captain is a wicketkeeper and a reliable finisher in shorter formats... I would say, one of these could contribute well with bat similar to others... but age comes into play there... they may have to be contained with their time with team India.

  • Sandeep on May 20, 2014, 14:48 GMT

    Why no one is talking about uthapas role in changing the fortune of kkr this season. He came to opening and provided scores to the team. Look ath the record. After he came then only gambier has started scoring.Akram didn't even mentioned this. Then what analysis he is doing about the team

  • Cricinfouser on May 20, 2014, 13:28 GMT

    @Mr.CricketJKNotHussey This year Punjab did better than all other teams because of Glenn Maxwell and David Miller. Every team relies on one of their players, Chennai relies on Dwayne Smith, Brendon McCullum and their bowlers. Delhi rely on JP Duminy. Mumbai on Lasith Malinga. Bangalore on ABD, Yuvi and Starc. Hyderabad on Bhuvi and Steyn. Rajasthan on Rahane, Watto and Faulkner. So why can't KKR rely on Narine, Gambhir and Uthappa?

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