'In professional sport, winning is everything'

Professional coaching is no different from playing professionally, says Kolkata Knight Riders coach Trevor Bayliss.


Chennai, (The Telegraph):
Trevor Bayliss, coach of the Kolkata Knight Riders, spoke to The Telegraph at the Taj Coromandel on Friday evening. The following are excerpts:

Sunday's final isn't far away. What are your thoughts at this point in time?

The boys have had a break for a few days, have got away from the game and have relaxed...They're looking forward to the final, as am I.

But, as we speak, the opponent hasn't been identified...

We have no preference whatsoever...Both teams playing in the second Qualifier are very good...We'll take whoever comes. [The Knights will be facing the Chennai Super Kings, champions in the last two seasons.]

Frankly, when IPL-V got underway, did you expect to be in Chennai for the final?

I knew we had a good team, that the Knights had finished fourth last season...But, yes, it was unknown territory for me. I did keep in mind the fact that if the good players do well, we'd be hard to beat.

Could the Knights be hit by nerves?

I suppose there's extra pressure for any team in any final...It's about how the players respond to the pressure...Yes, it will be a big game for the boys, but they don't have to approach it any differently from the previous 17 matches...Producing the A game under pressure will make the difference...We've got a couple of players who've played in a World Cup final...It will be the same for the second finalist.

What does it take to be successful in a final?

Having good players play well...T20 gets down to two-three guys in a team having a good night...The players have to back themselves, back their abilities. The batsmen, for example, have to keep it simple 'watch the ball'.

Is there an area where you'd like the Knights to improve?

(Smiles) All areas...I'd like them to get better in batting, bowling and in fielding. If we improve, we'll be very difficult to beat. Having said that, our bowling has been very consistent and the boys have stood up with the bat too.

While Manoj Tiwary looks fit, Lakshmipathy Balaji seems very doubtful for the final...

We're not exactly sure how it (Balaji's injury) is at this moment. Obviously, both boys will be given the maximum time to recover. So, fingers crossed...There are others eager to play, wanting to have a go.

What's your assessment of the Chepauk?

The wickets there aren't a lot different to Eden Gardens...On the slower side, with the spinners getting more purchase as the game goes on.

Any special words of advice for Sunil Narine?

No special advice...I'd only ask him to approach the final in the way he has approached the previous matches. He has a calm manner and that works to his advantage. Even if he gets the stick, his approach doesn't change.

Captain Gautam Gambhir has praised your style, that you know "exactly what to say and when to say it"...

I don't go out of my way to talk only when I must...I guess it just happens with my style...First and foremost, though, the game is all about the players and not the coach. The players are the ones who face the pressure.

Principal owner Shah Rukh Khan did the cartwheeling act, while others showed plenty of emotion after the final was made. What were your thoughts that night, in Pune?

I was happy, perhaps even relieved that we'd given ourselves the chance to become the champions.

Is there ever something for the team which loses in a final?

Whoever runs second isn't necessarily remembered for too long. In professional sport, winning is everything.

The final one...You're just a match away from winning a second T20 title within six months. What are your emotions?

There's excitement, that's for sure...Professional coaching is no different from playing professionally. You're in the game because you want to be part of a success story. It's a good feeling to be successful.

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