Executing aggressive intent has been key to Kolkata Knight Riders’ strong batting show so far but they can also play tactical game after assessing the conditions, assistant coach Abhishek Nayar said on Sunday, ahead of his side’s IPL match against Chennai Super Kings at Chepauk. KKR have won their opening three matches so far, with their batting being the highlight, having posted 200-plus totals in the last two occasions. “It’s always about being aggressive in this format, regardless of the PowerPlay or the last six overs, including the middle overs. It’s ‘see it, play it as it comes’,” Nayar said during the pre-match press conference.

“Besides being aggressive, you also want to be tactical, and the key to being able to execute aggression is different to being aggressive. So, credit to the batters in terms of how they go about their business and it’s reflected in the amount of runs that we are getting.” KKR’s opening pair of Phil Salt and Sunil Narine have been effective against pace and spin respectively right from the PowerPlay, with the latter being the side’s highest run-scorer so far this season.

However, given the traditional slow nature of the Chepauk surface, Nayar noted that it would be crucial to assess the conditions and play accordingly against CSK on Monday.

“It’s about assessing the conditions and what we are going to face tomorrow. What’s happened in the past is not necessarily what will happen in the future,” he added.

Also, one of the notable trends this season has been the unique approach of batters to hit more sixes than fours.

Speaking about the topic, Nayar said that it all depends on how a player is comfortable scoring, despite the format requiring to bat at a higher strike rate.

“Every individual has a different facet to themselves. If a player wants to score runs by hitting fours and sixes, it suits you, and if someone wants to accumulate runs through singles and doubles and occasional boundaries, then that’s how he plays it,” he said.

“There is no fixed way of playing the sport. What suits you and has brought you success is what you stick to. Although the game still needs players like Virat Kohli who can accumulate runs, it’s also about playing at the higher strike rate.” Likewise, another notable observation this season has been that the sides batting first have won more matches than chasing.

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While Nayar credited the fierce mentality of the batters, he also felt that dew is yet to play an important factor.

“It’s the mentality for sure. The Impact Player rule is the same for both teams. When you bat first, there is more freedom and no pressure to chase.

“The conditions also decide what is helpful and not. As the tournament progresses, as it gets hotter and there is more dew, things may change.

“Dew hasn’t been a major factor in the games so far. Once it comes in, the trend might start changing,” he reckoned.

“Having GG in the dugout makes a big difference”

KKR’s resounding start to the season coincided with the return of its former IPL-winning skipper Gautam Gambhir to the side as team mentor.

Nayar said Gambhir’s experience is a big boost for the players.

“There is no substitute for experience or a captain who has won two IPL championships with a franchise. Regardless as a mentor or on the field, having GG in the dugout makes a big difference and is a big boost for the players.

“Players who have played under him, like Sunny (Sunil Narine) and (Andre) Russell, you can see the difference, with Sunny scoring runs as an opener. So, all of it matters,” he said.

Angkrish Raghuvanshi is one of the new KKR players this season to have made an impact with his aggressive batting, and Nayar praised him for being a workhorse.

“His work ethic, besides skill sets, the willingness to work hard matters because that is a sort of talent that not everyone possesses.

“Skill is something that you can develop if you have the knack of working hard. It is something that has always stood out with him for some years — his attitude to go, get it, get better and chase his dreams,” he concluded.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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