Kolkata: West Indian spinner Sunil Narine has been key to Kolkata Knight Riders's success over the past few seasons and captain Gautam Gambhir said he is hopeful that the Trinidadian is still as potent after remodelling his bowling action.
The 27-year-old pulled out of the World T20 saying he was still having difficulty bowling with his new action after being sanctioned by the ICC for bowling with a suspect action.
He was in Kolkata last week practising, but had to fly back to his country after his father’s death. "I am told that he is more effective and dangerous now. I am hoping that the fizz is still there," Gambhir was quoted as saying.
Gambhir, who has led his side to two Indian Premier League (IPL) triumphs in 2012 and 2014, is also not worried about the fact that only Manish Pandey and Umesh Yadav have featured in national colours recently. He feels the likes of Yusuf Pathan and Robin Uthappa can be trusted upon to do the job.
"These are merely trivia and count little once the games begin. We have the likes of Robin Uthappa, Yusuf Pathan and Piyush Chawla who are experienced despite not being in the Indian team for some time. Apart from that, we have young cricketers like Surya Kumar Yadav, Kuldeep (Yadav) and many others. I am not too worried about all this as I think my team has it in them to sail through," said the Delhi-born cricketer.
The Knights will play six back-to-back away games due to the Assembly elections in West Bengal. Asked if it would be a problem, Gambhir said, "I don’t think so, because as winners I'd like my team to be tested under all conditions. It is all very well to perform at home but the real challenge is to be in alien conditions and do well. It's more fun when you win despite not being favourites."
KKR will also have West Indian all-rounder Andre Russell in their ranks, who recently tasted success after winning the World Twenty20. When questioned if KKR expects fireworks from the hard-hitting Jamaican, the skipper said, "He was brilliant and I was praying that he will get out against India but he didn't. There is a method to his madness and I am confident he will continue the same form for us too. He is pure gold, a wonderful entertainer. We too are hoping to do the Champion dance with him and Sunil."