A file photo of KKR allrounder Jacques Kallis. (BCCI)
It might have been surprising to see veteran allrounder Jacques Kallis sit out of the playing XI in some IPL games but Kolkata Knight Riders on Wednesday said the South African great was doing it for the interest of the team.
A vital cog in Kolkata's scheme of things, Kallis has missed last three matches in a row and four in total and their assistant coach Vijay Dahiya said he himself had opted out to make a winning combination.
"He's a champion, a legend of the game. It's a very very difficult call but credit must be given to Kallis for that as well. You have a couple of players, support staff, captain and vice captain sitting together while picking up a playing XI. He's part of that.
"On a couple of occasions he himself has said on this particular wicket the other guy would be more useful. He has opted out in a couple of games saying that this combination would be better for the team," Dahiya told reporters on the eve of their match against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Eden Gardens.
The 2012 champions have bounced back from a four-match losing streak to post five wins on-the-trot and Dahiya said it's the self belief and the team environment that had played a crucial role.
"The kind of environment we have in the team is amazing. We had a couple of close games, we knew we were there. If we can get hold of a couple of key overs we can get hold of that. The self belief has been fantastic and the environment created by the coach is very good.
"In last couple of years, we have an open policy. Anybody can come in and give suggestions on and off the field. That speaks about the team. It's a very plus point with the kind of environment that we have."
Bangalore boast of an attacking batting line-up in Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers but Dahiya said it would be about sticking to their plan and stay focussed.
"We always plan, I would be lying if I say we don't plan for a player. It's about sticking to the plan. There's no special plan. They have not only AB de Villiers and Yuvraj Singh, there's Virat Kohli then you cannot leave aside Chris Gayle. How can you not count him. They are a very very good side. It's very important for us to stay focussed."
Asked about the surprise inclusion of Pat Cummins in place of Morne Morkel, Dahiya said: "It's important to keep checking your bench strength as well. Cummins was doing well at the nets."