Updated April 17th, 2024 at 12:30 IST

'That was Gambhir's idea': Rinku Singh reveals change GG made at start of IPL 204 to transform KKR

Rinku Singh has nothing but praise for Sunil Narine and his emergence as a specialist opener for the Kolkata Knight Riders under Gautam Gambhir's mentorship.

Chandrakant Pandit and Gautam Gambhir | Image:PTI

Opening for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL 2024 season with West Indies great Sunil Narine has proven to be a masterstroke, and team coach Gautam Gambhir deserves the entirety of the praise for the all-rounder's ascent up the order. Considering that he scored just 154 runs while hitting lower on the bat throughout the previous three seasons, his form at the top of the order this season has been nothing short of amazing. In just six games this season as an opener, he has already amassed 276 runs. Narine's showcase was applauded by the team's southpaw sensation, Rinku Singh.  

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Rinku Singh applauds Sunil Narine's emergence as a specialist opener for KKR in IPL 2024

In a 56-ball 109 against the Rajasthan Royals on Tuesday, Sunil Narine hit his first-ever T20I century. After making history at the Eden Gardens with a century of runs, Narine awarded former captain Gambhir credit for opening the scoring for the first time since 2017. Rinku reiterated what Narine made clear in the post-match discussion.


"You can see the way Narine is batting this time. In every match, he's making runs, opening the batting and that was his (Gambhir's) idea only," Rinku said.

West Indies' Sunil Narine in action at an IPL 2024 match between the Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals at the Eden Gardens | Image; BCCI   

Under Gambhir's leadership, Narine was allowed to open the 2017 IPL by smashing the record for the fastest fifty runs in fifteen balls. KL Rahul (14), Pat Cummins (14), and Yashasvi Jaiswal (13), however, eventually beat this mark. In the Bangladesh Premier League, he also scored fifty runs off of only thirteen balls for the Comilla Victorians against the Chattogram Challengers in 2022.


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Narine is batting with poise and finesse this year, as his arcing strokes have significantly improved. When asked about the change, Rinku reiterated that nothing has changed but that he is now more understanding when he is in the midst.


"Nothing much has changed. It's the result of his sheer hard work at the nets.

"I've just noticed one change -- he's more patient now. Earlier he used to swing his bat to every ball, now he has restrained himself and playing according to the merit of the ball. He is batting thoughtfully and wisely," Rinku said.


But Narine's century went in vain as Jos Buttler (107 not out; 60b) showed his masterclass to single-handedly steer Rajasthan Royals to an eight-wicket win in the final ball of the match.

"It happens sometimes but it won't impact much. Our team is doing very well. We are not thinking much (about the loss). Credit to RR they did well. Also, you need a bit of luck in your favour. It was there day. Buttler innings was the turning point. Full credit goes to him," Rinku said.


With the KKR top-order going strong this time, the finisher Rinku, who was KKR's leading rungetter in IPL 2023 with 474 runs at 59.25, is not getting much opportunities.

This season Rinku has an aggregate of 83 runs at 27.66 and is yet to score a fifty. But his strike-rate has been a handsome 184-plus.


"Our top order batters are doing so well that I'm not getting much opportunities to show my batting this time." Rinku played as an Impact Sub on Tuesday and that was because of a niggle. "I had a niggle, I will be back to playing the full match against RCB on Sunday," he said. 

(With PTI Inputs)


Published April 17th, 2024 at 12:16 IST