‘Will Miss Playing At Eden If Games Are Shifted Out’

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Kolkata: Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Dinesh Karthik said here on Tuesday he would miss playing at the Eden Gardens terribly if some of their home games are shifted out to neutral venues because of the coming Lok Sabha polls.

“I will really miss Kolkata because there is a certain vibe, certain energy playing at Eden. Playing in front of 60,000 cheering for you makes a massive difference,” Karthik told reporters on the sidelines of the Mayor’s Cup at Eden Gardens.

“If we do miss a few games, I would miss Eden gardens terribly,” said Karthik.

The IPL dates are likely to clash with the Lok Sabha elections towards the second-half of the tournament. The BCCI is considering possibility of changing the competition’s home and away format and making it venue-specific.

Matches will be scheduled at neutral venues where polling would have already concluded or coming up at a later date.

According to fixtures released for the first two weeks, KKR will play two home matches against Sunrisers Hyderabad on March 24 and Kings XI Punjab on March 27.

Talking about the team, Karthik who took over the captaincy of the side last year said they have a slightly different team from last year and he is looking forward to the new season.

“We are slightly different to the team we had last year. We are really looking forward to it as a team. We have realised what we lacked last year and we have added resources accordingly. Thus, we are a more well-rounded team this year,” the 33-year old said.

The Kolkata outfit shelled out Rs 5 crore for West Indies all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite and another Rs 1.6 crore for New Zealand pacer Lockie Ferguson.

They are additions to an already stacked side that has the likes of Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Chris Lynn, Karthik and Kuldeep Yadav.

Karthik will lead the team for the second season running and will look to continue the run-making heroics that yielded him 498 runs as the team’s highest scorer in the last campaign.

Asked about his personal goal, Karthik said: “I am not somebody who sets goals per se. For some strange reason, it is not something I have enjoyed doing.”

“If we can go out there and put our best foot on the park, and the best we can, I will be very happy,” he said.

Mumbai stalwart Abhishek Nayar, KKR’s academy coach and also one who Karthik credits for his recent success, was also present along with KKR Chief Executive Venky Mysore at the Eden Gardens.

Asked about Karthik using IPL to prove a point to Indian selectors ahead of the ICC World Cup, Nayar said: “He has already made a statement playing for India. When he plays the IPL, it’s more about making sure his team wins. It’s more about KKR the team than DK the individual.”

“With the limited opportunities he has got for India, he has proven himself in the role he has been assigned in terms of being a finisher for the team. He has been consistent in doing that,” Nayar said.