Kolkata, April 12: KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir’s best friend is ‘Ms Instinct’ according to his own column. It is on the advice of Ms Instinct that he kept Andre Russell in the playing XI in KKR’s first game against the Delhi Daredevils. In spite of Russell arriving here only 15-16 hours before the game, Gambhir backed his instincts and it worked wonders for the side.
People will watch with bated breath whether he will use the same instincts to play Sunil Narine in their IPL-IX game against Mumbai Indians (MI) at the Eden Gardens here Wednesday. Usually captains do not tinker with a winning squad, but then the KKR management may do that simply because the player in none other than Narine. The mystery spinner arrived here Tuesday and had a short stint at the nets (it was obvious that he is yet to get over the shock of the sudden demise of his father). But by his sheer presence, Narine seemed to have infused a new spring to the steps of his colleagues.
The match will also be crucial for Rohit Sharma’s side as they started off poorly suffering a nine-wicket loss against debutants Rising Pune Supergiants. The IPL definitely provides every side a comeback chance… MI are perfect examples of this when in spite of losing six of their games last season they came back to emerge winners. But Rohit will definitely not want such a bumpy ride this season also.
Records, however, prefer the Mumbai side. In the 16 matches played between the two so far, MI have come out victorious on 11 occasions. But then this is another season, another outing and like any other T20 game, no one can really choose a favourite. But it is quite clear that MI are not the same force that they were last year sans that Sri Lankan – Lasith Malinga. In spite of both Rohit and head coach Ricky Ponting stating that there are replacements for the Sri Lankan, there can be no substitutes for the unique ‘Slinga Linga.
This will be KKR’s last match at the Eden this month as they will hit the road for six successive away matches with West Bengal in the middle of the Assembly polls. So it is imperative for them to win and add to their tally two vital points.
Rohit however, exuded confidence here Tuesday. “This is just the start of the tournament and I am positive that we will comeback quickly,” he told reporters here. “We have good memories here and hope to build on it,” he added.