Kolkata: Morne Morkel’s tidy spell might have earned him the Man of the Match award but for skipperGautam GambhirÂ Surya Kumar YadavÂ was the ‘game-changer’ in Kolkata Knight Riders’ clinical seven-wicket win overÂ Mumbai IndiansÂ in theÂ IPL-8Â T20 cricket tournamentÂ opener in Kolkata.
“No doubt, he’s my Man of the Match and was the game changer. He’s someone to look forward to and has a bright future,” Gambhir said at the post-match press conference on Wednesday.
Vice-captain Yadav shouldered the responsibility as he smashed 46 not out from 20 balls with five sixes and one four.
“I told Ravi (Shastri) before the toss that Surya is someone to look forward to. The best thing that happened was we announced him vice-captain before the game.
“At no 4, we wanted to give him more responsibility so that we can get the best out of him. The way he reacted to that was very good,” Gambhir said showering praise on the youngster from Mumbai.
The two-time IPL winning skipper said KKR is one franchise who believes in grooming individuals rather than players.
After being appointed Mumbai skipper before the Ranji Trophy, Yadav made way for Aditya Tare after a string of poor performances including a loss against Jammu and Kashmir.
Aware of what has happened with Yadav, Gambhir said: “We always thought him as a leader off the field and we wanted to groom him. That’s the difference between KKR and the other franchises.”
“We wanted him to get matured as quickly as possible, get smarter, and control his emotion as well. Hopefully he’ll become a much better individual and player and have a great future ahead.”
Narine made a comeback with a remodelled action as he returned wicket-less conceding 28 runs from his quota of four overs.
Gambhir said he’s happy with Narine comeback and the priority was to help him get into the groove.
“There has been a lot of talk about his action. The way he bowled was very good because there was not much for the spinners on this wicket.
“I’m pretty happy with him. We want him to get into the groove slowly. We can’t rush him too much and put him under extra pressure.He’s always a threat to the opposition.”
The Eden Gardens had some grass on it and Gambhir said it was unusual.
“This was not a typical Kolkata wicket. It had some good cover of grass. We did not know how much would be a safe total and at the same time the weather was in the back of my mind.
“And we’re always a very good chasing side so we were pretty confident. The way the guys reacted was very good,” Gambhir said on the decision to field after winning the toss.
Kolkata Knight Riders next face Royal Challengers Bangalore here on April 11 and Gambhir urged his teammates to raise their fielding standards.
“we need to get our fielding standards up. If we would have got Corey Anderson at that moment they would not have got 168. So these things are important. We need to keep improving these areas. I think our bowling was very good, batting was unbelievable, but there are still there are rooms to improve as a professional side,” he said of the three missed catches.