Kolkata Knight Riders had all the requisite cricketing skills to emerge Indian Premier League champions against Chennai Super Kings on Sunday night. But they didn’t ignore the mental aspect. The franchise should be commended for thinking about this vital aspect which set them apart from other teams in the competition. By appointing Dr Rudi Webster, Knight Riders covered all areas in a way.
They chose well. After all, Dr Webster had been successful in his work with top cricketers like Sir Viv Richards and fellow West Indian batting legend Brian Lara. He now takes up an assignment at the National Cricket Academy where he will work with young Indian players. Dr Webster shared his thoughts on a memorable IPL season with MiD DAY yesterday.
Mental aspect important, but so were the three pillars…
Of course, the mental part of the game was an important performance pillar, but so were the other three pillars — fitness, technical skills, and tactics and strategy. It was a combination of these four pillars that formed the foundation for our success during the season. The captain, coaches and support staff did a good job in that respect.
Everyone sang from the same hymnbook…
Our win was due to a good team effort. Everyone was singing from the same hymnbook from the very beginning of the competition — owners, CEO and his staff, captain, coaches, support staff and players. The team had a common purpose and a common philosophy — win or lose, play as a close team and help and care for each other. That was the message of the captain and coaches. I found the KKR to be a professional organisation for which the CEO Venky Mysore must be given a lot of credit.
Wankhede incident worked wonders…
I think the incident in Mumbai increased the team’s ties and commitment to SRK and brought the team closer together. So in some respects the decision makers in Mumbai did Kolkata Knight Riders a great favour. A football coach in Melbourne, Australia always told his administrators and players: “You should never say anything about your opponents or do anything to them that they can use to motivate themselves to beat you.”
Performance revolves more around self-belief than potential
From the beginning, my focus was on the local players, not the foreign stars. There is a lot of talent among the local boys. My job was to get them to believe in themselves and their ability and not to be overwhelmed by the presence of the superstars in the team. And it was made easier by their willingness to learn. At this level, performance revolves more around self-belief and self-image than it does around potential. Manvinder Bisla’s batting on Sunday in the final was a case in point and was from the top drawer. The final game was the last part of the journey, but every game along the way was tough and important.
Bayliss is super with buttons
Coach Trevor Bayliss is one of the best coaches I have worked with. Along with the captain, he created the right environment that enabled the players to flourish. His people skills are very good and he was able to press the right buttons to get the best out of the players.
Skipper’s belief: Team over the individual
Gautam Gambhir captained the team very well. He has most of the qualities of a good leader and understands the importance of individual and group motivation and the importance of team over the individual. Even after winning the final yesterday he stressed that the speed of the leader is the speed of the people that he leads. Surely he must be on the shortlist to captain India after Mahendra Singh Dhoni leaves. I am confident that he will do well if he is given the opportunity. SRK and Jay Mehta (co-owners) supported the team fully and never interfered. They allowed the professionals to do their jobs.
I think that contributed in no small measure to the team’s success.