You know, we cricketers can be a fun lot. And not many would believe that but - with all my humility intact - I too am a bit of a prankster. I know all of you would be thinking about my serious demeanour, the 'Gambhir' look and all that, but I am a "silent prankster". More about me later, let me tell you about my team. The KKR dressing room gets along like a house on fire. So, whether there are different descriptions of Sunil Narine's hairstyle, my mimicry, any PJs by Yousuf Pathan, Iqbal Abdullah enacting Shah Rukh or for that matter Vijay Dahiya's one-liners, the KKR group sometimes resembles a bunch of stand-up comedians. Trust me, it is that crazy.
High on sixes
The other day in Potchefstroom, Yusuf was hitting the ball really long and hard, so much so that we lost three to four balls. Seeing this, Vijay bhai in his inimitable style asked our team's yoga instructor, "Arvindji, Delhi jaana hai?" (Do you want to go to Del-hi?). Arvind knew fully well that Vijay was up to something. He replied, "Haanji, jaunga" (Yes, I want to go) to which Vijay concluded, "Ball par baith jao, Yusuf bahut lambey, lambey chakkey maar raha hai, aap ko Delhi bi pahuncha dega" (Sit on the ball. Yusuf is hitting huge sixes; he will even send you to Delhi). We were in splits. Vijay's spontaneity, and the way he summed up the situation, was hilarious.
These are the things that make a difference to the team environment. We can't get tensed up considering the enormity of the stage. I know I look pensive on the field, but that's me. I don't want my team to feel that heat.
I want Yusuf to be himself, Sunil Narine to be the cool dude, Manoj Tiwary to roll up his sleeves and tonk the ball and Brett Lee to flash that million dollar smile in the most challenging of circumstances. If I may add here, one of the big reasons for us winning the IPL this year was the amount of space we gave Jacques Kallis.
We just let him be, and in any case what can you tell a man who has almost 25,000 international runs and close to 600 wickets! It is a bit like a corporate body. The CEO has to absorb the pressure of the management and the targets while his colleagues have to share the vision and be responsible only for their own actions.
Warming up well
And by the way, let us all touch wood for Yusuf's big hits. I forgot to mention that the big man got an unbeaten 40-odd in our warm up game against the Scotland team. One hit went over long on for a huge six. I don't know if it actually landed near Delhi!!
Manvinder Bisla too got a 40 not out and Manoj Tiwary was the highest run-getter with 50 plus. All three were called back in after they got these runs in order to give others a chance. I am also extremely pleased with the way Balaji is shaping up. He too bowled extremely well against Scotland.
We have now moved to Johannesburg, and by the time you read this column, we'd have played our second warm-up game, against Highveld Lions. I will share with you the details of that game in our next interaction.
Till then be good and take care, and keep writing to the newspaper commenting on my column, whether you like it or not, what part you liked the most and what all do you want to know.
(360 Corporate Relations, the writer is KKR skipper.)
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.