Kolkata Knight Riders may look like a divided house with the team practising without skipper Dinesh Karthik on the eve of their IPL match against Rajasthan Royals but West Indian all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite Wednesday said they still have a healthy dressing room.
KKR found themselves on the brink of elimination with five losses in a row, the latest coming against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday as the team think tank chose to give their under performing India players, including skipper Karthik, some days’ break.
Karthik, along with the likes of Robin Uthappa, Shubman Gill who were training in Mumbai, checked in late in the evening but Brathwaite said the mood in the camp was absolutely fine.
“I think the mood in the camp is good. We are still teasing each other. As a professional player, you cannot allow results to alter your demeanour or your mindset,” Brathwaite said.
“If you allow that then the remaining four games will be even harder. We still laugh out at each other. We are still a healthy dressing room. I feel privilege to be part of it. I still enjoy coming to work practising and realising the game better.”
Most of the team’s regular players in the playing XI were not seen in the match-eve practice, and the Windies T20 skipper, who has played just one match this season, was sent for the media interaction.
Brathwaite said the KKR team do not have a leadership group per se and anyone who is a born-leader can contribute.
“If you are a leader by nature, then that will come on in whatever you say, and do, and how you say things and how you do it. I’ve been speaking in team meetings, speaking to the coach, to the captain to the manager. I think a leader is natural, it’s something that happens. I see myself as one.”
KKR’s biggest letdown this season has been their bowling department as they have not been able to give regular breakthroughs.
“I just don’t want to single out bowling unit because as a team we haven’t played cricket collectively that we want. I don’t think we batted as well as we want. It will be unfair to single out the bowlers,” he said.
KKR have to win all their remaining four matches from here on and the Windies all-rounder said they’re in search of the win and then carry forward from there on.
“We just need to find a spark from somewhere either individually or collectively to arrest the slide and maintain that momentum in the business part of the tournament.
“I prefer to have six losses, rather than having them in the last six games and then being knocked out. So as a team we haven’t been good enough. Full stop. It’s a matter of getting better and putting out perfect game together,” he said.
West Indies are yet to select their World Cup squad and Brathwaite said he’s a bit nervous but the focus for him is only on KKR at the moment.
“I am a little nervous. It’s a privilege to represent your nation whenever you get the chance to. In a World Cup it’s even more prestigious occasion. So if selected looking forward to being given my best but for now my job is with KKR.
“As a franchise they selected me to come and do my best, so it would be disrespectful of me to be looking too far ahead at the World Cup when we still have four games potentially seven looking to win a Cup.”
Rajasthan Royals’ task of making it to the play-off is no less challenging but all-rounder Stuar Binny said they have to stay positive.
“We have not been able to capitalise on the key moments. That has gone on our way and hence we have found ourselves on losing side. It’s for us to stay positive and look to win, it’s only by that we can make the playoffs. It’s crucial that we concentrate on winning,” he said.
Steve Smith may have replaced Ajinkya Rahane as the captain in a major shakeup in the business end of the season but Binny said it has not affected anyone in the team.
“It’s just a different role for him. I don’t see any difference as players. I don’t think it’s affected anyone. It’s pretty normal as long as you play your roles,” he said.