Kolkata coach Whatmore praise shrewd Gambhir

Gautam Gambhir has lead from front for Kolkata in this season of IPL AFP

Kolkata: May 21, 2011

Kolkata Knight Riders think-tank hailed Gautam Gambhir for his shrewd captaincy skills and said the left-hander is a popular figure in the team.

Team coach Dav Whatmore and his assistant Vijay Dahiya praised Gambhir in unison ahead of their clash with Mumbai Indians on Sunday.

“He (Gambhir) has been a wonderful captain. He has been terrific for the quiet way he goes about his business. He leads by example, he has got a pretty shrewd brain. He is a likeable character and a popular figure in the dressing room,” said Whatmore.

Former Delhi coach Dahiya added: “You grow over a period.

The quality about him is whatever the situation, he has backed himself.”

“For him, team comes first and then the captain always.

He is always thinking about the team first. That’s a huge quality as a leader. He got all the qualities you need in a leader. Leading a first-class side is different from leading in IPL.”

The Knight Riders, who have assured their place in the last four after Kings XI Punjab lost against Deccan Chargers in Dharamsala on Saturday, have been one of the most consistent team in the IPL fourth season.

Under Gambhir, the Knight Riders have displayed superb team effort to overcome their disappointing show in the last three episodes as they have emerged as strong contenders for the title.

“There is a strong undercurrent, a feeling. First of all the objective was to get into playoffs. Once we have achieved that we need to go as far as we can. Only handful of games left, so we are looking forward,” Whatmore said.

The Sri Lankan World Cup winning coach further said the boys this time were more keen to execute the task in a superb team environment.

“Understandably, it’s pretty upbeat, everyone is buoyed, looking forward. You win games by skill, team things in a very healthy environment. That’s what we have tried to create.

Inputs from number of people have helped.

“If you rewind it to the time before the auction, we have put in a number of hours behind formation of this team. We were flexible during the auction. At the end of it, we have got a team that we are happy with,” he said. .

Whatmore also thanked Kings XI Punjab for beating Royal Challengers Bangalore by a huge margin that has helped their cause for a realistic second place finish.

“We have said that already. The big win by Kings XI Punjab against Royal Challengers Bangalore has boosted our chances to finish in the second spot,” he said.

Giving an injury update of Jacques Kallis, Whatmore said, “He is alright and will be fit for selection.”

Kolkata Knight Riders would take on a wounded Mumbai Indians, following their hat-trick of losses and Whatmore said they needed to be watchful.

“With any team that we play, we understand that there is no easy games, no easy roads, no matter whom you play against.

Particularly, in their case they are pretty much do-or-die, depending on how it goes today. They will be looking to come at us pretty hard and we are expecting that. So there are no easy games.”