Star batsman Virat Kohli might be returning to action in IPL after a long break but Kolkata Knight Riders coach Jacques Kallis is not too bothered about the India skipper and said his team has plans in place for the entire Royal Challengers Bangalore side.
Two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders will open their campaign against Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 11th edition of IPL on Sunday.
“We have got plans for all the batters. One batter (Kohli) doesn’t make a team. When you fall into the trap of one batter then you are focussing on wrong things, you need to focus on all the batters,” Kallis said when asked about their plans to combat Kohli.
The tournament will pit India teammates Kuldeep Yadav against Yuzvendra Chahal and Kallis said he is looking forward to an exciting battle.
“Wrist spinners play a big role in this format. A mystery bowl is slightly difficult to pick than the conventional players. We have got a couple (Kuldeep and Piyush Chawla), we are looking forward to some exciting time,” he said.
KKR made a surprise choice skipper in Dinesh Karthik after they did not retain Gautam Gambhir, ending a seven-year association with their most successful captain.
Fresh from his exploit in Tri-nation final win over Bangladesh in Sri Lanka, Karthik will lead the new look side and Kallis hoped to start off well against a team they boast of a 12-9 win-loss record.
“You want to start off the tournament well. RCB are a good side. A team that starts off well, are the teams who know their players’ roles and where they fit in and how they settle down. We have a good record against them and want to make sure we play some good cricket,” Kallis told reporters.
RCB had succumbed to 49, the lowest ever IPL total in reply to KKR’s 131 allout on April 23 last year, when the two teams clashed at Eden Gardens in the last edition of IPL.
In the return-leg fixture in Bengaluru, Narine had smashed IPL’s fastest fifty – a 17-ball 54 en route to a 29-run victory.
“Hopefully it (the big-margin win) does happen again for us. But we will have to see and have our plans in place. We will hope to execute them in the night with bat and ball,” the former South African all-rounder said.
Kallis’ deputy Simon Katich had termed KKR underdogs against RCB but the South African played it down.
“I think everybody starts as underdogs, everyone’s a little bit nervous and first game of the tournament,” he said.
“New teams, some new strategies. Everybody will try to feel each other out. The teams that get stuck in early on that will start the tournament well,” he said.
KKR will miss the services of Aussie pace spearhead Mitchell Starc who’s down with a leg injury and was replaced by English all-rounder Tom Curran.
“Unfortunately Starc got injured but we have got replacement in Curran. We look forward to some exciting stuff from Tom. Should stand up and play a big role in absence of Mitchell,” Kallis said.