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'GG has not just been a mentor, he's been a leader in every department'

Here's how the KKR players and coaches reacted after their IPL title win

After dominating the league stage of IPL 2024, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) won their third IPL title with a stroll past Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the final in Chennai on Sunday. Here's how the KKR players and support staff reacted after the win.
Andre Russell: "No words to explain right now. It means so much with all the fans that have been supporting us throughout the season. We are the players who go game after game and make sure that we get the job done. And it's the first time we're actually celebrating our victory and I think it's the right moment. I'm happy that all of us, we are very disciplined and want the same goal. This franchise has done so much for me, with the fitness and everything. This is a big gift from all of us to them, so I'm happy."
Russell to Star Sports: "It's my first final for KKR and to get three wickets as well, it means a lot to me and all the bowlers did their job. We keep it as simple as possible. In the first couple of overs we realised the wicket was on the slower side and we used the cutters well, we didn't overuse it as well. We kind of mixed up the pace. I was happy with a 113 chase any day (laughs). I just mentioned to him [Mitchell Starc]. I said, 'hey, big man, you saved the best for last'. And I'm happy with that because he started on the rough side and I kept feeling that he's still a world-class bowler, he doesn't take a few bad games to decide the destiny and I'm happy that he bowled that jaffa to that guy [Abhishek Sharma] and then we're on our way.
"GG [Gautam Gambhir] has not just been a mentor, he's been a leader in every department for us, and I think that's what was key to our success. He made sure that every batter and every bowler was playing their part and GG is just an amazing guy to be in any set-up. The support staff always gave us what we wanted, made sure that we were satisfied leaving the nets and everything played a big part leading up to this championship. GG coming back, winning the IPL, amazing support staff, you don't need anything more than that."
Varun Chakravarthy: "All I can think of right now is the person who's built this Indian core. Obviously the international players have been doing very well always, but the main guy behind this is Mr Abhishek Nayar."
Varun to Star Sports: "It's a result of hard work. Credit goes to two main people, Dinesh Karthik and Abhishek Nayar. They are the guys who set the Indian core about five years back and that's bearing fruits now. You can bowl at any other ground if you've bowled at Eden Gardens. It's such a small ground, smaller than the TNPL grounds.
"It went great bowling with Sunil Narine. We spoke a lot. We lost to Punjab Kings earlier in the season. Gautam then told us: 'This is the loss that's going to make us win the final'. And that's what happened now. That Punjab match was the turning point for us. After we gave away 260-plus runs, Shahrukh Khan [team owner] told me not to expect any magic ball. He said, 'Just focus on your basics and that'll bring you magic; don't run behind the magic'."
Abhishek Nayar, assistant coach: "It means everything. It has taken a very long time. Personally, I started playing IPL in the first season. It's taken me 16 years before I got my championship, but I'm really happy for the boys. It's been five-six years. I can't express how happy I am. Can't express it, with the big man [Russell] turning up as usual, but it's the most surreal feeling that I've had in a very long time."
Venkatesh Iyer: "As Varun mentioned, credit has to go to Abhishek Nayar. You know certain things go unnoticed. I'll make sure that they don't go because that guy deserves all the credit in the world for the way he's been working for this franchise. And this one is for the fans who turned up in huge numbers year after year, waiting for ten years. We have some superstars in our team still we did not win, but kudos to the fans who came in regularly to cheer and support us, this is for them."
Nitish Rana: "When Gautam Gambhir was signed as our mentor, I had congratulated him on WhatsApp. I wrote a long message to him and he thanked me, but he also said he'll be the happiest when we'll lift the trophy at the podium. Today is that day and I'll remember that message forever."
Bharat Arun, bowling coach: "I think it's been pretty tough last two years. It was touch and go, we didn't qualify and there's been a lot of introspection and we did find out what are the areas we really need to work on. We did exactly that. I think Mitch [Starc] coming into the team boosted the confidence of the other youngsters in the side. Mitch is probably one of the best bowlers in world cricket and he's been in similar situations many times. I think it's just about Mitch discovering what his strengths are and how the Indian conditions would suit him. Once he understood that, it's magic all over."
"They [Narine and Varun] have been outstanding. Not often you come across spinners who are experienced. Spinners mature with age and so Sunny [Narine] with his experience and also Varun has been in the IPL for four to five years - both bowling in tandem has worked exceptionally well for us. He [Narine] has brought a totally different dimension to our batting this year. I thought it was Gautam who insisted that Sunny opens and that was a move that really paid off. What Sunny did was outstanding."