New Delhi: Back playing in familiar Indian surroundings, Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir is looking at the possibility of winning the Indian Premier League (IPL) a second time.
KKR's Sunil Narine bowls during the tie against Rajasthan Royals in Ahmedabad on Monday. Pic/Nirav Trivedi
He realises that it is not going to be easy for a team that won only three matches of the eight it has played, but he still sees a ray of hope, and to be on course it needs to win the remaining six matches to make the play-off.
For that to happen, Gambhir feels his two overseas spinners, Sunil Narine (West Indies) and Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh), are the key to pulling the Knight Riders back into contention on the turning Indian tracks. "They both are exceptional bowlers and have performed brilliantly," told IANS.
The Knight Riders skipper is confident that Narine and Shakib would still bowl the team to get to the play-offs. "The next few matches are crucial for us, especially now that we are back in Indian conditions, and we are confident that the two potent spinners will get us back into the reckoning by giving us the results we are looking for," he said.
Both Narine and Shakib have been effective this season and if they have not been able to win matches consistently it is not their fault; the batsmen let the team down.
While West Indian off-spinner Narine is among the leading wicket-takers with 12, Bangladesh's left-arm spinner Shakib has bottled one end up and claimed six wickets at a miserly rate.
'I always backed myself'
Gambhir, who started poorly with a hat-trick of ducks, regained his touch with scores of 69, 54, 6 and 45 in the last four outings and he wants to carry on the form.
Shakib Al Hasan
"Every cricketer goes through a bad stretch and it's part and parcel of any sport. I always backed myself through it and knew it was just about getting one good knock out in the middle," he said.