Bayliss blasts KKR batsmen

Kolkata Knight Riders’ fall from grace has been sudden and painful to watch.

The defending champions were expected to be among the top contenders for the Pepsi Indian Premier League title once again, but after 10 matches, they find themselves with just three victories, down in seventh spot in the table, ahead of the struggling Delhi Daredevils ( on net run rate) and the basement- dwelling Pune Warriors India.

Coach Trevor Bayliss is understandably livid with his team, especially the batsmen, who have failed to come to the party this year. Only Gautam Gambhir and Eoin Morgan have done well, while the others, including the likes of Jacques Kallis and Yusuf Pathan, have been abject failures.

After the defeat to the Daredevils here on Wednesday, Bayliss put the blame well and truly on his batsmen.

“We were very ordinary tonight. The batting hasn’t been good most of the year. We’ve had two or three good games but we’ve been mostly poor with the bat. That puts pressure on the bowling and fielding,” the Australian said.

Asked if there would be a change in the batting line- up for future games, Bayliss expressed helplessness: “ We’ve been doing that for five or six matches now. We’ve got a couple of guys injured. We have to get back to our best players batting at the top, to make them bat for as long as possible.” This may have been an indirect attack on KKR’s $ 2.1 million buy Yusuf Pathan, who has managed just 128 runs in 10 games this season, continuing his two- year drought for the side. Yusuf either opened or batted at three in the last few games but to no avail.

Asked specifically about Yusuf’s continuous failure, Bayliss sidestepped the question. “ At the moment, we’re down to six batters, with Manoj Tiwary out. We can play extra international batters, but then we’d have to leave out one of the spinners. We’re not going to leave out Sunil Narine. Those who are batting are quality players, but we need to get them into form,” he said.

KKR’s fielding, too, left a lot to be desired on Wednesday, while Delhi, in contrast, took some absolute blinders to dismiss their best batsmen. Bayliss, however, refused to blame the fielding, continuing to bash the batsmen.

“Even if we would’ve taken our catches, it would’ve been a difficult job to win with 136 on the board. We are of course disappointed to have dropped catches, but the players don’t mean to drop them.

“They work very hard in practice. It just seems to be the way it’s gone this year – we hit balls off the middle of the bat and other teams take screamers, and we drop the few that we should take. It hasn’t been our best season but we don’t give up hope. We must aim to win as many matches as we can,” Bayliss said, with more than a hint of resignation.

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