After being dropped from the Indian Test squad, Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Gautam Gambhir is now "more focused and working harder", a team colleague said.
The star opener hit the nets with a vengeance facing the likes of pacers Brett Lee, Rajat Bhatia and Laxmipathy Balaji after his arrival in the city Sunday. One of the first to come out for the nets, the southpaw had an extended batting session, even though he seemed a trifle edgy.
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"After being dropped from the Indian Test team, Gambhir has been more focused and working really hard," Bhatia told media persons post the net practice session at the Eden Gardens here.
Suffering from a prolonged slump in form, the opener was recently dropped from the Test squad.
The Knights though would be hoping Gambhir, the second highest run getter (590) in IPL's previous edition, returns to form sooner than later.
"He is an inspirational captain and played a major role in KKR becoming the champion last year. He looked in fine nick at the nets," said Bhatia.
However, the opener did not look much comfortable at the nets as he missed a few deliveries and mistimed or edged a few others.
Crediting Gambhir for their maiden IPL title last year, Bhatia admitted the team was under pressure.
"It is difficult to reach the top but it is much harder staying at the top. Being the defending champions, of course brings pressure but at the same time it also helps in bringing out your best," he added.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Daredevils who reached the city Sunday led by skipper Mahela Jayawardena, also slogged hard at the nets.
"Last year we reached the semi finals, and this year too, our initial aim is reaching the semis and then take things as they come," said Daredevils batsman Unmukt Chand.
KKR play the Daredevils in the season's opener at the Eden Gardens Wednesday.