The Emotion And The Top As KKR With The Shortage Of Resources > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more
Cricket news - Emotions run high as KKR grapple with resource shortage
In Kolkata, a discussion on KKR doesn't need an adda; the talks are happening in cabs, on the metro, in cafes - with no intruder adding his two cents of frustration unwelcome. Not since the 'No dada, no KKR' campaign has the club witnessed reactions as hostile from their fans as they are now. And the reason is the team's downward spiral on the points table. If there is one topic that is giving the election buzz a rub in the city, it is Andre Russell's batting position. It is a subject that has got a set of followers to flare up on social media, led a section at Eden Gardens to boo Dinesh Karthik, and the more sedate ones to turn selectors on the streets.
Kolkata is an emotionally volatile city, the emotions always on the edge. Thus, the city is also as emotionally reactive. What the reaction often doesn't follow is a practice of pause-and-reflect. Cricket is something they invest in, KKR being a part of it. It is one of those elements in their intrinsic culture that makes them compromise on their much-adored afternoon naps. Thus, if in good times, it can get an entire state to get a day off in celebration - like it was with their title triumph - on its bad days, it can also force reactions such as 'I wonder why I didn't take off my shoes and throw them on Robin Uthappa' from its long-time supporters.
It's not a situation the team has witnessed in the post-Ganguly phase, a period from where KKR become one of the stronger sides in the competition. The fan engagement is an emotional ride too, but that is what makes their fans so intriguing: informed yet uncontrollably expressive of extreme emotions. The knowledge that Russell isn't batting anywhere higher than five has been the fuel for their latest ire. Some even suggest, in this form, let aside batting at No 4, he should be sent out to open.
In such a scenario, the words adorned on the sides of the team bus - 'you pray for us, we play for you', isn't digestible to the fans. It is more the other way around - 'you play for us, we pray for you'. And Russell is in their prayers. He may be playing with a troubled knee, hamstring, wrist and shoulder, but he is their answer to everything. From scoring the runs to leading the side; they seek a Dashavatara of the Jamaican.
But fan suggestions are often bizarre. They want a change of captain, management, basically all of KKR except Russell. They just want a change. Something changed. Maybe nothing except the results that haven't gone their way in the last few weeks. But the problem is, where is that change going to come from?
The cracks that are opening up now in KKR promised to do so at the auction table in January 2018. And as the summer sun has become brighter and hotter in 2019, the miseries have only compounded for them.
When they had formed their squad, they picked a stellar 11, but in consecutive auctions have failed to cushion that with able and adequate back-ups. The issues that arise with the lack of depth in a squad has finally started to plague them. In those 20 balls of Russell, they can't carry out a successful campaign.
It has been a season where KKR's philosophy - to travel light - has tested them more than their own game. It's a good idea if you're a tourist, not when you're playing a fast-paced high-competitive cricket tournament. Form and fitness are legit inconsistencies of any cricketer. And yet, barring Prasidh Krishna and Lockie Ferguson, KKR didn't have an equal or near-equal replacement for any other player even at the start of the tournament.
There have been teams in the past, and even currently, that have over-stuffed their sides with star power and been on the receiving end of its perils. KKR, on the other hand, with their new philosophy, have been on the exact opposite end of that spectrum. They realised the virtues of travelling light, not only for financial reasons but also to manage the resources better. It puts lesser pressure on the trainers, physios and coaches while also helping define the roles of the players better. Even as they saw the perks of it for a year and a half, they were always playing against the odds. No team in the past has won an IPL by trying any less than 17 players. Even as KKR have 19 in their squad, any swap in the main XI, except for their frontline pacers, was bound to hurt the team strength immensely.
And this year, when their regulars have failed to deliver - Robin Uthappa with the bat and the spin trio with the ball, they find themselves without strong enough resources to fill those voids. If a player from the primary XI has to sit out due to poor form, who comes in?
In such a high-competitive environment, a losing streak like this can lead to doubts creeping in to the minds of the players, more importantly, it can lead to lesser trust in the teammates. It's an age-old philosophy in team sport - when the team is doing well, all is good. But when they are not, problems that were not seen show up.
While coach Jacques Kallis said there is 'frustration' among the players, Carlos Brathwaite has swept it aside, stating that to lose the morale is a luxury they cannot afford at this stage of the tournament. "The mood in the camp is good," he says. "We are still teasing each other. We had lot of smiles, a lot of fun in the practice. As a professional player, you cannot allow results to alter your demeanour or your mindset. If you allow that then the remaining four games will be even harder."
It's a statement of immense logic but often emotions can override them all. To lift themselves from this spiral, they will need the professionalism that Brathwaite suggests, more hands to join Russell.
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