Kolkata, April 23 (IANS) Kolkata Knight Riders head coach Jacques Kallis on Tuesday said he hasn’t been in touch with skipper Dinesh Karthik or co-owner Shah Rukh Khan since their loss to Sunrisers Hyderabad.
KKR decided to let a few of their players travel to Mumbai and train at their academy before the next game against Rajasthan Royals here on Thursday, even as rest of the team was given time to regroup.
This was after they lost their last game — fifth in a row — to Hyderabad at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium. While the likes of Andre Russell headed back to Kolkata, Karthik and some other players headed to Mumbai.
Kallis was asked about Shah Rukh’s message after the loss last Sunday which pegged them further in their bid to make the playoffs for the fourth time in row.
“I haven’t chatted to him since the guys have been in Mumbai. In fact, I think DK went home for a day as well. So we will catch up tomorrow and have a debrief and plan away going forward again for the next game,” Kallis said.
Shah Rukh had tweeted after KKR’s loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore that the team should win some games for Russell who has been their lone ranger.
Asked if SRK is unhappy, Kallis said: “We all want to perform a little bit better. Yeah, I think everyone’s in that space where we just want to get up and play better cricket and get back on winning ways. Losing certainly isn’t fun.”
While SRK has spoken about winning games for Russell, the Windies all-rounder isn’t happy with his own batting position and feels he should be batting higher in the order. Kallis too admitted that it is an area that needs to be looked into.
“Rinku (Singh) went in, in the 8th over and certainly haven’t sent Andre in that early. They got a partnership (51 runs with Chris Lynn) going.
“In hindsight, maybe we could have sent him a bit earlier. But it certainly hadn’t been one of our plans. But if a situation arises then it’s something that we will think of,” he said.
Russell came out to bat at No.7 and scored a 9-ball 15 as KKR could manage 159/8, which was not enough in the end as they lost by nine wickets.
Coming back to skipper Karthik, Kallis backed him to get back among runs. “Hopefully he can get in and get us some big runs. That will certainly mean a lot to the team and as much as he wants to do it,” the South African great said of DK who averages 16.71 from nine innings this season.
“In the last game he came up in the order and unfortunately got run out. It’s about matching up players and situations. He’s a vital player for us and a world class player,” he said.
Kallis said there’s been no discussion on removing Karthik from the captaincy at the business end of the season. “No, we haven’t discussed it, nor has it been brought up,” he said.
On the Mumbai break, Kallis said the guys needed to regroup, adding there is no pressure on Karthik regarding his captaincy. “We felt the guys needed a break. Guys are given freedom to do what they want to for the next couple of days. It has been a disappointing couple of games for us so we thought that guys can go and do what they want – go home or some guys felt they wanted to have some middle practice which we couldn’t get here, which we could get in Mumbai.”
Kallis admitted the players are frustrated, but realise they can still turn it around. “I think the guys are frustrated. They do realize that we still have chance of qualifying and we’re just going to play some good cricket and I’ll say the longer we are in it in this format, there are little percentages that you need to improve in order to turn these things around and we’re not far off,” he explained.
KKR now need to win all of their remaining four games in order to qualify for the playoffs smoothly. “We’ve done it before. We have won 11 in a row… Certainly it’s possible and the guys will try hard both off the field and on the field. We will be up for the game, that’s for sure. It’s almost like there is no tomorrow for us now. Hopefully we can repeat that again this year.”
In 2014, KKR had won nine games on the bounce including the final to lift their second IPL trophy under Gautam Gambhir. KKR are currently placed sixth in the points table with eight points from 10 matches.
KKR, sans India’s World Cup bound players including captain Karthik and Kuldeep Yadav, trained at the Eden Gardens. The likes of Karthik, Kuldeep, Robin Uthappa and Shubman Gill were given a couple of days break and trained in Mumbai. They will join the team on the eve of the match. Andre Russell trained at the nets alongside Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Carlos Brathwaite, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Kelly and Prasidh Krishna among others.–IANS