KKR is all set to get their campaign started under a new captain in Dinesh Karthik at Eden today when they take on Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Ahead of the contest, KKR assistant coach Simon Katich has earned the team not to repeat the fielding lapses this season as they did in the last.
Katich opened up to many questions thrown at him while interacting for a web series Whats Cooking where he spoke about the team's approach this season.
On Chris Lynn who is back for KKR this season, Katich said that he will be opening the batting for them as he has been a regular opener in limited overs format. "Yes, that’s a role he has become accustomed to. Not just in IPL but in the Big Bash League (BBL) as well. In the recent T20s he has played for Australia, he has often batted at No 3. He feels comfortable batting at the top and it suits the balance of our team" said Simon.
On Robin Uthappa's role opening the batting he said " It depends on the balance. When Chris got injured, we got Sunil (Narine) to open and he provided a really good kickstart to the innings. The beauty is all of them are experienced players. Robin often came at No 4 last time, which was uncommon, and still managed strike rates of around 160 (165.10). Most players who do that need to use the power play…He also moves well around the field and enjoys being a senior figure in the team being vice-captain".
One of the key areas of improvement which Katich highlighted was the fielding. "That is a big area we focused on. Our fielding last year was one of the worst in the competition. A lot of the time it comes down to not only your attitude on the field but also personnel. We feel that with the group we have got now, with a lot of younger players in the squad, we feel we will have a lot more pace and energy on the field than last year. Even in the fielding drills we have done so far, the amount of times we are hitting the stumps now compared to the previous couple of years is a big difference. So, hopefully, that is an area we improve as well in terms of getting run-outs and creating run-out opportunities".
he also said that since Mitchell Starc is missing from the side this season due to injury, its adds up extra responsibilities on Mitchell Johnsons' shoulders. "It was a big blow because we invested a fair bit on him. But we are blessed in the fact that we do have a very experienced campaigner in Mitchell Johnson; he bowled Mumbai to victory with that last over. He is still a very good performer and had a very good BBL season. The conditions are different from Australia but from what we have seen already, he is in good form. He is fit, he is bowling well and at a good pace, even though he is not as quick as he was in his prime.
Between him and Tom Curran, who is an emerging player, we have different options and that gives us a bit of variety in our attack".
He concluded by keeping a word on the promise and potential of the two young U19 players in the KKR camp Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi. He further emphasized on Sunil Narine who had to go through a bowling Test ahead of tonight's game.