Gambhir backs Starc, lays stress on team success over individual brilliance

PTI, Apr 13, 2024, 6:10 PM IST

credit: X / @KKRiders

Kolkata: Mitchell Starc’s poor returns with the ball this IPL “does not make him a bad bowler”, Kolkata Knight Riders mentor Gautam Gambhir said on Saturday while laying emphasis on the team’s success over individual brilliance.

The Australian left-arm quick, who was bought by the franchise for a whopping sum of Rs 24.75 crore, has so far taken just two wickets at an average of 77 and has leaked 11 runs per over across four matches.

But Starc found support from KKR mentor Gambhir, who said: “It (his poor stats) doesn’t matter, T20 cricket is all about bowlers getting smashed. We’ve got three wins out of four.” Ahead of their match against Lucknow Super Giants here, Gambhir added, “In a team sport, it’s the wins that matter. We have got three wins out of four. Why should I not be happy with anyone’s performance? See, people have bad and good days, ultimately, it’s the team that needs to win.

“And we’ve got decent results in the first four games of the competition. And we all know that how big a threat Mitchell Starc is. Four games doesn’t make him a bad bowler.

“And four good games doesn’t make him a brilliant bowler either. So I know that what impact he can create and what impact he will create in the competition.” Gambhir further said the Aussie will create an “impact” going forward.

“Tomorrow it might be a completely different day. Or probably going forward, it could be a completely different day. An individual can have a brilliant performance and the team doesn’t end up winning.

“There’s no reason why you should talk about individual performance. I feel that Mitchell Starc has done reasonably okay. I think he’s bowled some tough overs. And he will create an impact, what he’s been picked for,” he said.

A new start

Gambhir, who was Lucknow Super Giants’ mentor in last two seasons, has returned to his former team that won two titles (2012 and 2014) during his previous stint at KKR from 2011-17.

KKR could never win against LSG in three attempts while Gambhir was at the opposition dugout.

Gambhir said it’s a new day and they would start from scratch.

“It’s a new day, new start. What difference does it make that what has happened in the last two years? It really makes no difference. We start from scratch.

“All of us are really looking forward to the game tomorrow. You know, it’s a quality side. But we are a quality side as well,” he said.

Gambhir further reacted to criticism about their head coach Chandrakant Pandit’s “militant style” of functioning.

“I don’t read a lot about what has been said and stuff, but it’s been early days. My working relationship with him has been really, really good and hopefully it continues that way.

“He’s been very successful in domestic cricket and that’s why he got this opportunity, so far it’s been really good working with him.” Former KKR all-rounder David Wiese had earlier described Pandit as a strict disciplinarian and a “militant-type” coach.

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