Ahead of their clash against Gujarat Titans in IPL 2023, Kolkata Knight Riders head coach Chandrakant Pandit stated that it is very crucial for his team to win rest of their six matches in the tournament to stand a chance of qualifying for the playoffs.
“The destination is very far for us in this season. We still have six matches and it is important that we win all six of these matches. I won’t say it is difficult but we have to pull up our socks and fight till the last match,” he said in a pre-match chat with the broadcasters.
Big-hitting all-rounder Andre Russell turns 35 on Saturday, but hasn’t produced any impactful performance yet. Pandit thinks they are waiting for the right moment to come for Russell to showcase his skills and come good.
“I feel as a coach and as team management, whatever plans we take are for the better of the team. Andre is the kind of guy that can turn a game at any moment, so we are waiting for that so that he can fulfill his role. Hopefully, he will come good but it is important to say that at this moment everybody will have suggestions on Russell but it is important we stick to the plans.”
IPL 2023 also marks the first time Pandit is coaching an IPL team, after having found tremendous success in the domestic cricket circuit as a multiple times Ranji Trophy winning coach of Mumbai, Vidarbha and Madhya Pradesh. He feels management is a huge skill to depend upon in IPL coaching.
“At this level, a lot of players are experienced and have big reputations, so spending some time with them and including them in strategies and planning is important as a coach. However, in domestic cricket we get about 12 months with the players, and we get a greater chance to interact with them.”
“Here however there are back-to-back games, and of course there’s traveling and other commitments. So I feel managing the team is the most important.”
Gujarat all-rounder Vijay Shankar feels spinners will get assistance at the Eden Gardens, though there’s significant cloud cover. “It was very hot during our practice session yesterday and looks like the same today as well. I’ve been feeling good, just want to enjoy doing whatever the team wants me to do and win matches for the team.”
“I think there’ll be some assistance for the spinners, but it’s very hot, we need to assess the conditions quickly and be at our very best. That was a one-off game for one of our bowlers (on the Rinku Singh heist at Ahmedabad). But we can’t think about that too much, just move onto the next game.”