In the backdrop of the pandemic, Kolkata Knight Riders’ chief mentor David Hussey feels he needs to keep the players in a relaxed frame of mind during the 53-day long Indian Premier League (IPL).
Terming the opportunity to play cricket amid the pandemic “a privilege,” Hussey said he would support KKR’s captain and coaches by making the players comfortable. “It’s all about getting around the group as much as possible and just try to make everybody feel as relaxed as they possibly can. Make sure they know their roles with clarity…they can execute their skills under immense pressure,” said Hussey during an interaction on Sunday.
The Australian said he would address the players individually, on a one-on-one basis.
Hussey said getting acclimated to the hot weather conditions of the UAE would be important. “It will be a hot weather tournament. It will be windy as well. The pitches will get used and tired as the tournament goes on. It’s up to the teams to adapt quickly. It’s the strength of the squad [that] will go a long way to win this tournament.”
Hussey counted on the English duo of Eoin Morgan, who could assist captain Dinesh Karthik on the field and play a key role in the middle order, and Tom Banton, the “better version of Kevin Pietersen,” as much as he showed faith in the Indian pair of Shubman Gill and Nitish Rana.
He hoped old hand Andre Russell would continue to do wonders, especially if sent up the batting order. “If it benefits the team and helps us win matches, why not [send him up the order]. If that means he comes in at three and that’s 60 balls, he might actually make a double hundred.”
Equipped with talent
According to Hussey, having a pace-heavy attack was not a disadvantage for KKR. “We have got some fine fast bowlers – Pat Cummins, Lockie Ferguson, [Shivam] Mavi and [Kamlesh] Nagarkoti… Fortunately, we are very talented in both disciplines: fast bowling and spin.”
The Aussie backed his team, saying it was “well-balanced in all disciplines of the game.”