Gambhir’s smart tactics make him one of the best captains in IPL: Wasim Akram

first_imgKolkata Knight Riders bowling coach Wasim Akram (left) with Yusuf Pathan and captain Gautam Gambhir (right).Ever since Gautam Gambhir took over the reins of Kolkata Knight Riders in 2011 from Sourav Ganguly, the franchise has worn a completely different look. Agreed KKR didn’t qualify for the play-offs this season, but the team has a much more spirited look since the early days when, despite having a large pool of talent, it seemed to lack direction. In fact, Kolkata have also won the championship twice under his able leadership – in 2012 and 2014.And answering Mail Today’s query on Gambhir, bowling coach Wasim Akram, who was also there with the team during Ganguly’s leadership, feels that Gambhir is the best captain around in the cash-rich league.”Our skipper Gambhir has himself led from the front and I think that he is one of the best captains in the IPL. It is not because I work with KKR, but it is a general view because of the way he rotates the bowlers and the way he leads the team. There is aggression there, but it is controlled, and it is very important when you are the captain of any side,” he said.In a tournament like the IPL where there is hardly any breathing space for players, let alone train, it is interesting to note that almost all teams have specific batting, bowling and fielding coaches. Asked about what his job is as players hardly get time to train, Akram says it is more about sharing knowledge with them and there is no science involved in it.advertisement”My job is very easy. I just let them express themselves. I just answer whatever questions they have in their mind. My job is to make them comfortable and give them confidence. There is really no science to it. It is more about mentoring the youngsters because the young guys do have a lot of questions and that is where I think I am very helpful to them,” he revealed.Asked about the bowlers in KKR’s rank, Akram said: “I have the best talent in the world at my disposition at KKR, be it pace or spin. Morne Morkel, with his pace and awkward bounce, is one of the most difficult bowlers to face. Umesh Yadav has improved with every game and has bowled every delivery over 140kph-plus and he is just enjoying his bowling. He has gained in confidence. Then there is Andre Russell who just steams in every ball. Then there is the mystery spinner in Sunil Narine and the leg-spinner in Piyush Chawla. Variation has been the biggest strength of KKR.”While KKR failed to qualify for the playoffs, the bigger issue for KKR has been the constant scanner that their lead spinner Narine has had to undergo as the onfield umpires found his action questionable. But Akram feels that Narine did a good job. “It has actually come along very well. It is almost impossible for a bowler (to change his action so fast). If I had to change my action, it would take me about six months and my pace could suffer. But he got back his rhythm and got the spin going. He is a very talented individual,” the 48-year-old said.While he is all excited speaking about KKR, the tone goes serious when he is asked about Pakistan team and its thrashing at the hands of Bangladesh in April. While the selectors decided to drop Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal for the ODI series against Bangladesh on grounds of discipline, Akram does agree with the decision as he feels that the duo is really talented.”I have seen a few games and they dropped Akmal and Shehzad. I am all for new talent, but these boys are young as well. If whatever I have read in the papers is right, then they have discipline issues. And you just can’t drop players because of discipline. You should be able to know how to handle them.”last_img