Gautam Gambhir

Gautam Gambhir says wearing a Kolkata Knight Riders’ jersey is a big motivation © IANS

Kolkata: Apr 23, 2013

Livid with his team’s below-par showing in the ongoing Indian Premier League, Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir has warned his nonperforming players to either perform or perish.

Defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders are presently languishing at the seventh place in the nine-team competition after losing four out of the six matches they played in the tournament so far.

“Playing as defending champions itself is the biggest motivation. Otherwise you should be sitting at home and watch others play,” Gambhir said on the eve of Kolkata’s crucial match against Mumbai Indians at the Eden Gardens.

“Wearing a KKR jersey itself is the biggest motivation. There are many more in the dressing room who are dying to wear the jersey,” he said taking a dig at KKR’s nonperforming players.

The Knight Riders had slipped from a positive start to be restricted to a paltry 119 for nine against Chennai Super Kings, who registered a comfortable four-wicket win, the second defeat in a row for the defending champions.

But Gambhir backed his side and said the scenario could change quickly in the T20 format.

“(Winning and losing) It’s just part and parcel. Things can change very quickly. One good innings, one or two good strokes can turn the things around. We are pretty united and playing for each other,” he said.

“We just want to go out there, play positive cricket and get results in our favour. Lot of people might have said about processes and all but I believe in results.

“It’s a big challenge. When you have seen the good days, you should be able to accept these (bad) days as well. Life is full of challenges and this is one of them thrown at me. We will try to come out with the answers,” Gambhir added.

Gambhir was all praise for Debabrata Das‘ wicketkeeping abilities, hinting that KKR might stick to the innovative idea of opening with Irfan Pathan against Mumbai Indians.

“Keeping in mind that he kept against (Sunil) Narine and (Sachithra) Senanayake, he did a pretty good job and was pretty tidy behind the stumps. This is one way we can go about it in the next game as well,” he said.

“It gave us a better balance. It was because of Das, who could keep wicket and bat at number 6, that helped us to open with Pathan. As a captain, it gave us one more option.

“It was a positive move. We want to go hard at the top. Let’s see how it goes tomorrow. We will be positive and want to go out there and play fearless cricket,” the KKR skipper said.

Gambhir also hinted that New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum might have to wait a little longer as Eoin Morgan is doing well with the bat.

Admitting that it’s a difficult task for him to keep McCullum out, Gambhir said: “Morgan is doing a great job. He’s been hitting the ball the best I see.

“It’s a difficult thing as you have two quality spinners, they have been the silver lining till now. Both of them have played brilliantly. The duo have been the biggest positive after Morgan.

“It’s a difficult choice whether you want McCullum up the top or you want a finisher at the middle. It’s a difficult call. The problem is our middle-order which is not getting runs,” he added.