From the moment he joined SunRisers Hyderabad as mentor and strategic analyst, Krishnamachari Srikkanth had revealed that he was excited to be associated with one of the most promising teams in the Indian Premier League. He had also gone on to say that it would be the team to watch out for this season.
And with the team repaying the faith that he had shown in the new Hyderabad outfit, Srikkanth is elated. Not only has the win over Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday earned them a place in the play-offs, but also Srikkanth has compared the win to one of India’s most iconic moments in cricketing history — the 1983 World Cup win.
"My memories went down to the 1983 World Cup. Nobody gave us a chance in the World Cup that year, but we qualified and won at the end of the day. The feeling is quite similar as no one gave the SunRisers a chance in the tournament, and we have qualified for the playoffs,” Srikkanth said.
From being underdogs at the start of the tournament to knocking out favourites Royal Challengers Bangalore in the race for a place in the last four, Hyderabad have indeed come a long way and Srikkanth feels it is about believing in each other.
"If you look at the team, we had the faith and belief that we would make it. Everybody said we were the underdogs, but we were not worried about it.
"This team is built on teamwork and not individual performance. The core of the team has been the supportive nature of its members."
"Everybody backed each other through the ups and downs in the tournament which has helped in the team’s success,” he said.
While the crux of the team — as far as the players are concerned — is same, a new support staff and quality cricket did take many critics by surprise. And Srikkanth feels it is a journey he will always cherish.
"The journey for us has been fantastic. Before the start of the tournament, the only thing we told the boys was to play with a lot of passion. They have done exactly that and it is this passion in their hearts that has got the team thus far,” he revealed.
Srikkanth also feels that the kind of support that the team has got from the fans has also helped the team.
"I have always believed in the power of the people. The energy of the people of Hyderabad has been brilliant. They have supported us throughout and this helped create a positive energy that was reflected on the field. Our fans turned up in great numbers for our games and have given us unconditional support,” he said.
Commenting on his advice to the boys going into the match against Rajasthan Royals, Srikkanth said: "Keep playing your natural game. Do not worry or get overburdened by the occasion. Take it one game at a time and the results will follow.”