Narine to miss KKR’s opener

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Kolkata, April 9 (IANS) Kolkata Knight Rider’s West Indian mystery spinner Sunil Narine will miss the Indian Premier League (IPL)’s opening tie against Delhi Daredevils on Sunday, captain Gautam Gambhir said on Saturday.

The Trinidadian was cleared to bowl by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Thursday but he had to fly back to his country to attend his father’s funeral.

Gambhir also shed light on the availability of all-rounder Andre Russell saying that he would be here for the IPL encounter on Sunday.

“Narine is not available for the first game, he is only available from the second. Russell is available,” Gambhir told reporters in the pre-match media conference.

“I am more confident of Narine this year than I was last year and he will be comfortable with a remodelled action. Obviously he has bowled with the action. This year you will get to see the best of him as he knows the monkey is off his back.”

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Delhi Daredevils have roped in West Indies all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite, who turned out to be a match-winner for his regional outfit in the final of the recently concluded World Twenty20.

The burly cricketer hit four consecutive sixes at the Eden last Sunday to help West Indies lift the trophy. But Gambhir insisted they are not solely focusing on the 27-year-old.

“We do not talk about individuals. Daredevils are not only about Brathwaite, there are other quality players as well. If we have to win we have got to beat the eleven players in their side,” he said.

Asked if Gambhir is looking forward to using the IPL as a platform to get back into the Indian team, the skipper quipped,” I play IPL to win it and I do not see it as a platform to get back into the Indian team. It is about winning it for KKR and scoring runs for my franchise.”

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The Delhi left-hander who has now led the Kolkata franchise for five years said they would not want to repeat the same mistakes they did last year.

“Very excited, looking forward to a good start. If you get off to a good start it takes a lot of pressure of you. We saw it last year when where we were at the top and in the last two games we slipped to number five. So hopefully we will try to start of well and continue that into the entire tournament,” Gambhir stated.

The skipper also did not want to dwell upon what impact former coach Trevor Bayliss had on the side.

“A successful team makes a successful coach. For Bayliss a lot of credit goes to the players in the dressing room. It is the same for the captain,” he said.

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Gambhir also stressed on the huge support they have got from the crowd at Eden Gardens and thanked them for sticking by the side through thick and thins.

“People, fans, have been the biggest strength. The amount of loyalty they have shown for the first three years and then sticking by us. Feeling sad when you lose, happy when you win. Hopefully we will try and give them a lot of happiness,” he said.

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