I would like to start by congratulating Chennai Super Kings for their deserved victory in this VIVO Indian Premier League season. I must say both CSK and Sunrisers Hyderabad have been very resilient. They lose and still come back as if there was never a loss. That’s the way tough teams work. When the going gets tough, the tough ones get going, as they say, and they proved they had it in them.
It’s been a big season for us with mixed emotions. We started off so well that we were on a high and our assumption was that all things being equal, we should have been through to the qualifiers. We won five of the first seven matches that we played, and we were looking good to make the Playoffs. By any account we were very sure that we would make the Playoffs.
We were very elated and very happy with this but the second part of the season with our move to Indore really got us down. I don’t want to blame it on the ground, though. We are responsible for not having delivered. We owe it to our fans! They came to the games in the hope that we’d do well.
All I can tell them (our fans) is I own up the responsibility of having let them down on their expectations but with the promise that we will come back and prove to them that we can be a winning team. We have the right ammunition; we just need to put it together with the younger players. Remember this was their first year as well. Most of them are newcomers to the side. We will gel together, and you will see a different output next year.
I think we’ve realized that, from the ground’s stand point, we believe that it matters, being in Punjab. For me Punjab is the most critical venue. From the cricket stand point I think we’ve realized what the composition of the middle order and opening has to be.
A great positive is that we found a great opener in KL Rahul (Lokesh Rahul) - consistent, stays put, no matter what is happening at the other end. We need to find a couple of more KL Rahuls, and I feel they do exist in our team.
We are going to focus a lot more on the off season, keep a watch on most of our players because we have them for three years.
As far as the bowling goes, we have a good mix of international bowlers. Andrew Tye has been amongst the top wicket-takers. Our local boy Ankit Rajpoot, I think, is a stunner! I consider him among our future prospects for a few years.
A lot of youngsters will stay with us for a long time to come. We are going to work on them and hopefully come back much stronger next season.