After suffering his sixth straight defeat at the helm, Kolkata Knight Riders captain Dinesh Karthik stressed that his team-mates "trust in their leader" while admitting that his team's bowling "was found wanting" in recent matches.
Knight Riders lost to Rajasthan Royals by three wickets on Thursday and are lagging behind in the playoffs race, placed sixth with only four wins from 11 matches. They now need to win all their remaining games, although even that may not ensure a final-four berth.
"I think our bowling overall, a lot of times, has been found wanting a little bit, definitely," Karthik said at the press conference after the match. "I think our batting as well a lot of times, and that's why we're not being able to close games which we even end up scoring a lot of runs in. But the fact is that that's something we need to look into, at least it can get better and the boys are aware of it."
Karthik was asked whether or not he was going to continue with the captaincy, the reference being to Royals, who switched from Ajinkya Rahane to Steven Smith after a similar streak of losses.
"A lot of it will boil down to how much they trust me as a leader and it's important that you keep the mood of the dressing room really good" DINESH KARTHIK
"Obviously, when the results don't go your way these questions will be asked and I understand that. But as a team we're trying to do a lot of things right," Karthik said. "There are not things we're not attending to, we're trying to make the right changes, we're trying to build the right combination and trying to come in every game believing that we'll win.
"We're trying to keep everybody in good space and making sure the dressing room is good and they all trust in their leader. It's my job to lead from the front but sometimes results don't go your way so obviously it's a tough thing to kind of mend. But the fact is that we're trying hard as a team and I have belief in my boys that we'll come strong every game."
Graeme Smith also asked Karthik on the host broadcaster's channel how he was taking the six losses as a captain. "A lot of it will boil down to how much they trust me as a leader and it's important that you keep the mood of the dressing room really good," Karthik said on Star Sports. "Those are the things we've done well. I think as a team we've fought, we've been there but just the fact that we're not able to cross the line is obviously not a good feeling."
Knight Riders had an impressive run at the beginning of the tournament, riding on four wins in their first five matches, including a close comeback in a Super Over finish against Delhi Capitals. But since beating Royals by eight wickets in Jaipur, Knight Riders have slipped down the table.
"That's what this tournament is all about, and I've always said that when we won, it always feels good but when you lose close games like these and somehow don't cross the line and then you feel, 'wow, how are you going to get there?'"