Vastavam web: Kolkata Knight Riders batting coach Simon Katich today termed the Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore as the favourites in the opening IPL encounter between the two sides on Sunday.Former Australian left-handed batsman feels that RCB are one of the title contenders.”Quick outfield, beautiful conditions, and a full house on Sunday. We are looking forward to a fantastic start to the IPL for us. We just can’t wait to get out there. Hopefully, we will get him (Kohli) caught at the slips like last year,” Katich said recalling the Indian captain’s duck here in 2017.
Things however would not be easy for a new-look KKR side under Dinesh Karthik and the Kolkata franchise is banking on the wealth of experience they have.”From captaincy point of view, he’s in the perfect time of his career to really grab the opportunity. He has done that with Tamil Nadu with a fair bit of success. He is a highly experienced player in the IPL, played for 10 years,” Katich said.
Karthik has played for five franchises in IPL Delhi Daredevils, Kings XI Punjab, Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Gujarat Lions in 152 matches across 10 seasons before joining KKR.”I don’t think he (Karthik) will be under pressure. First and foremost thing will be to give guidance to this group. He has got a lot of experienced players around him, particularly in overseas group, and there’s the likes of Piyush Chawala, Vinay Kumar and Robin Uthappa.
“Our role is to take the pressure off him and we look forward to him continuing the form he showed for India recently.””We have Robin Uthappa, he has a lot of experience particularly with the KKR. He has a magnificent record — the top five all time IPL run scorers. Combine him with the power of Chris Lynn and we feel we have fair bit of experience at the top of the order.” The batting coach expressed his happiness that Lynn has fully recovered from his shoulder injury.
“Obviously, Lynn has injury concern but he’s fully fit at the moment. Judging by his form in the practice sessions, hopefully we will see some fireworks on April 8.””Manish did a very good job for us in the middle order for a number of years. He’s now playing for India, so he’s a class act. Unfortunately, when it comes to the budget, it was a big spend at the auction.
“We felt the squad was important and we could not just change that for one player. As a result, we had to let him go to the Sunrisers.” “It’s a big role to fill but we have likes of Dinesh and Rana to fill in the role.””He went back to Trinidad and spent a lot of time working on his action with Carl Crowe. He’s got a lot of hard work there. Carl has been working on his action for a number of years since he got reported first. At the moment, we are pretty comfortable where’s he is at in terms of his action. Hopefully, we will see him back there on April 8.”
KKR also have three talented youngsters in the Under-19 World Cup winning trio of Shibman Gill, Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti.”Given that we have a lot of experience in your team, there might be one or two spots available for the youngsters to grab an opportunity and perform.””All three players — Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft — haven’t appealed the ban. They have taken it on their chin and Cricket Australia sent a strong message that they will not condone that sort of behaviour. It’s to the player’s credit that they have accepted the ban.”
“Hopefully, in a year’s time, or nine months for Bancroft, we will see all of them back and playing for Australia at some stage.” Katich termed it as a “bad mistake” and expected the trio to comeback stronger.