Thu, 01 Jun 2023

Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], March 29 (ANI): The freshly-appointed interim captain of Kolkata Knight Riders, Nitish Rana said that the leadership role is 'not new' to him as he has already been made battle-ready by his five years of affiliation with the IPL franchise and involvement as part of the leadership group.

Kolkata Knight Riders will start its IPL 2023 campaign against Punjab Kings on April 1 at the Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium, Mohali.

"For me this is not new. I have been playing a leadership role in this franchise for a few years. It's just that the tag is of a captain this time. And if I take extra pressure over a tag, then my game can potentially get ruined. There is no real fear. Yes, when you do something new for the first time, there is some added pressure. But I have played almost 100 games, and one thing I know is that I thrive under pressure and I am embracing this new role," Rana told reporters in Kolkata in his first media interaction as captain.

Rana has been with KKR since 2018. He has scored a total of 1,744 runs for the team in 74 matches at an average of 26.02. He has scored 11 half-centuries for the side with the best score of 87. In his IPL career, which also saw him play for Mumbai Indians from 2015-17, he has scored 2,181 runs in 91 matches at an average of 28.32, with 15 half-centuries and the best score of 87. His strike rate of 134.22 makes him a valuable asset for the side at the top.

"At the end of the day, it is cricket. Situations will be different and match conditions are different too," Rana said when asked about the step up from captaining his state side.

"Man-management is important here. This is a big competition so there are players who are seniors here. Russell has played almost 450 matches, Narine, too, is in that range, so we have a very experienced group. With that much experience, there is nothing for me to fear. [There is] Chandrakant sir too, so there are lot of people at my disposal to turn to [for assistance]," he added.

Rana has a solid win-loss record as a captain. He has led Delhi in 12 T20Is in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, the country's top T20I domestic competition, winning eight matches, and losing four.

"I don't follow anyone's captaincy style, I just want to captain in my manner. I know that if I follow someone, then I will lose my touch. So I want to lead this side the only way I know... just wait for a few more days to learn about my captaincy, then you will have some talking points about my style," he said. (ANI)

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