Struggling Kolkata Knight Riders present a brave, confident face

It’s down to desperate measures for the Knight Riders now. After all the bad blood and talk of revolt, the management tried to present a picture of bonhomie as the team touched down here a day before their match against the Royal Challengers.

A session on the beach, a few team meetings, coaches having open discussions at the hotel lobby about how to retrieve the sagging morale of the team – it looked like winds of change were blowing through their ranks.

Coach Matthew Mott informed that David Hussey will join the team on May 8 to bolster the squad after Chris Gayle leaves. “Obviously Gayle will be missed, but we’re looking at Hussey to give some impetus to our chances,” coach Mott told the TOI.

Talking about Sourav Ganguly, he said that there’s no way one can discount a legend. “He is a legend in his own right. We have seen the exhibition of his never-say-die attitude in this tournament as well and I’m sure there will be many such occasions in the tournament,” Mott added.

“There’s always a special place for a player of his stature in the team,” Mott said, trying his best to blow away the speculation over a rift in the team. Ganguly, too, tried to do the same, at least in public.

“We haven’t played well enough, it’s as simple as that,” Ganguly told the TOI, after a training session at the Durban beach.

What does he have to say about the controversy that is surrounding the team? “I just don’t want to comment on these things… Our aim is to fight back and I think we’ll do that,” he added.

Coach Mott, meanwhile, informed that owner Shah Rukh Khan gave a passionate speech to the team, trying to fire them up after their loss to Mumbai Indians in Port Elizabeth on Monday.

“Shah Rukh told us that he loves the team members as much as he loves his children. He did his best to boost us up and I’m sure the boys are all feeling charged up after that,” Mott said.

All that is fine but it remains to be seen whether the team can really stand up again and fight its way back into the tournament.

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