KKR is the only team that plays for Kolkata’s pride: Gambhir

Kolkata, May 4: Rubbishing speculation that Kolkata Knight Riders’ home match at the Eden Gardens Saturday may become a virtually away game due to crowd support for rivals Pune Warriors led by local hero Sourav Ganguly, KKR captain Gautam Gambhir Saturday said only his team belongs to Kolkata.

Refusing to bill the game as one between Ganguly and the Knights, Gambhir said: “Sourav is an individual, we will play against Pune Warriors. We don’t play against Sourav Ganguly.”

Gambhir said irrespective of whether the Kolkata crowd supported his team Saturday, the Knight Riders would play for the city’s pride.

“Whoever Kolkata wants to supports they can support. But I want to say that KKR is the only team that belongs to Kolkata and there is no other team that belongs to Kolkata. I have always maintained that we only play for the pride of Kolkata we will always do that, whether we get the support or we don’t get the support.”

A majority of Kolkatans – from celebrities to the man on the street – seem to be gearing up emotionally to back their eternal favourite “Dada” Sourav Ganguly, who will lead the Pune Warriors out on the historic ground.

The much awaited IPL clash, which many are saying would be a ‘home’ tie for Pune, has already generated tremendous interest. The entire quota of tickets set aside for online booking have been sold and black marketers are said to be making a killing.

The match is being variously touted as “Dada vs SRK (Knight Riders co-owner Shah Rukh Khan) and as a derby, with Ganguly set to use for the first time ever the visiting team dressing room and dug out on a ground where he honed his cricketing skills from a young age.

Gambhir did not agree the match was anything special.

“For me it’s just another game of cricket we would like to win. We will approach it in the same way as we have approached the other games. We have lot of qualities in the dressing room. We should be able to fire hundred percent,” Gambhir told mediapersons here.

When asked whether the dwindling fortunes of Pune Warriors and its captain after losing four matches in a row will be to KKR’s advantage, Gambhir said: “We will be playing against a team of 11 players and not against an individual. Anyone of them can fire with the ball or bat and can win the game for them.

“So whether one or two people are struggling doesn’t matter. It’s the contribution of eleven players that matter.” To a query as to whether captains can win matches their team, Gambhir said, “Never, captains are as good as their teams. A captain doesn’t win the game. It’s just the planning that they do. But it’s the team that implements those plans and wins the game.”

IANS