Dinesh Karthik (R) will fill in Gautam Gambhir's shoes in KKR dugout © KKR team
Dinesh Karthik (R) will fill in Gautam Gambhir’s shoes in KKR dugout © KKR team

Experienced Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) pacer Vinay Kumar, who won the Indian Premier League (IPL) with them in 2014, backed new skipper Dinesh Karthik, saying he will make a good captain despite eyebrows being raised when the stumper was given the role. KKR did not retain their two-time IPL winning skipper Gautam Gambhir who went to Delhi Daredevils and handed the baton to Karthik instead.

“He (Karthik) did not lead many matches for Tamil Nadu, but that does not mean he’s not a good leader. He’s a very good leader, hopefully he will do well. We have many seniors, have to help each other,” Vinay Kumar, a former Karnataka skipper, told reporters after practice here.

Karthik, who has played 152 matches across 10 seasons before joining KKR for teams like Delhi Daredevils, Kings XI Punjab, Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Gujarat Lions, led Tamil Nadu to the Vijay Hazare Trophy one-day tournament win over Bengal in 2009-10. He also captained India Red to the Duleep Trophy title last year.

“He’s really a good guy. I’ve played most of my cricket with him or against him. The way he played for India in the final was amazing,” he said referring to his eight-ball unbeaten 29 to win the final of the Nidahas tri-series T20I tournament in Sri Lanka. “From nowhere he took the game and finished the game. He’s a very nice guy and will definitely do well for KKR. I look forward, it’s all about play as a team,” added Vinay.

Talking about Decision Review System (DRS) which will be introduced from this season in the IPL, Vinay said: “It will be good for teams. In the Ranji Trophy teams suffered due to poor umpiriring. I don’t blame the umpires they are humans. But DRS will surely help.”

KKR will have a lot of youngsters this time beginning with three U-19 World Cup winnes in Shivam Mavi, Shubman Gill and Kamlesh Nagarkoti. “They have not played any IPL matches but that doesn’t mean they are not good. Everybody has to perform well. Youngsters will bring in more energy on the field. They are good enough, that’s where they are here. It’s very important to share your knowledge with them. Whatever I’ve learnt I want to make sure that these guys are benefited, and in a right frame of mind to deliver. I will give them the right space to do well,” Vinay said.

About coming back to KKR, Vinay said he is happy to be here and the men in purple have a great bowling unit. “It’s a great feeling coming back to KKR. I was a part of KKR four years back when we won the tournament. I’m really happy to be back. We have a very good bowling lineup with (Mitchell) Starc, (Sunil) Narine, (Mitchell) Johnson, I’m really excited. I will see how it goes. I’m preparing myself fully. I will give my best when I’m given an opportunity,” he signed off.