Chennai: After leading Kolkata Knight Riders to their maiden IPL title, skipper Gautam Gambhir said the victory sends out a message that cricket is a team game and it is not confined to individual performances.
Gambhir's strong reaction came when he was asked if team hoped of win when he himself was out early while chasing 191. He was also asked about spinner Sunil Narine's contribution in his side's impressive show this season. But the skipper asserted that his side was out to prove a point that it's the team that wins and deserves credit and not any individual. Gambhir could score just two and it was Manvinder Bisla's
terrific 89-run knock and his 136-stand with Jacques Kallis (69) for the second wicket, which set up the win.
The Kolkata captain praised his players for playing as a unit, not as individuals.
"It's not about me or that I got out early. It is about eleven people who took the field. The way Bisla batted, the maturity and experience that Jacques showed and the cameos from Shakib Al Hasan and Manoj Tiwary at the end. It's not about how you start, it's how you finish. Those performances won the game for us," Gambhir said after a thrilling five-wicket win over Chennai Super Kings.
Gambhir got a bit irritated when he was asked about West Indian spinner Narine's contribution in team's success. "Since the first press conference I did, I've said I hate to talk about individuals. It was not about Sunil Narine. KKR has never been about one individual, whether that's me or someone else. There has been a lot of talk about my form. I got a hundred in Bangladesh, I had a decent ODI series, but it was not about that. We all wanted to prove to the nation that cricket is a team sport and credit should go to the team. If you want individual credit you should play tennis, badminton or some individual sport, not a team sport such as cricket.
"From the first day I put this to the team: there will be no single day when the credit goes to an individual. Victory always belongs to the team. It was important to prove to the country that cricket is a team game, and hopefully we've gone some way in doing that," he said.
When Gambhir was addressing the media, he was not smiling despite a memorable win. Asked about this, he said,"Maybe it has to sink in. Maybe when that happens I'll get a smile on my face. As I said, that's how I've been. It works for me. Being intense does not mean that you're always serious. Sometimes you just want to be in your shell and not show out too many emotions to the world."
When quizzed, how team co-owner Shah Rukh Khan reacted to the last-over win, Gambhir said the Bollywood star has been a good support and deserved this happiness, specially after a few controversies around him. "I can only guess that he should be happy. He's been a great owner. Not once in the tournament has he put any pressure on me or the team. Though we started by losing the first two games, he never interfered with the cricket aspects. There has been the suggestion that he has interfered in the past, but ever since I was made captain he has not
interfered with the cricket. That's the kind of owner you want. It was important for us to win it for him because he's seen a lot of lows and controversies, and when someone's done that it's important they get to savour success when it comes."
Gambhir also had special mention for the Kolkata Knight Riders fans. "KKR fans deserve every bit of the success. They've always backed us. I said this before as well: when things weren't going our way they stood by us, and we wanted to win it for them. This is not our victory; this is a victory for the fans of KKR. I just want to say thank you for all the support and love the fans have given us.