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Leadership role not new for me, I can’t let captaincy tag ruin my game: Nitish Rana

Newly-appointed interim captain of Kolkata Knight Riders, Nitish Rana, stated that the leadership role is familiar to him, given his five-year association with the IPL franchise and involvement in the leadership group. Kolkata Knight Riders will begin their IPL 2023 campaign against Punjab Kings on April 1 at Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium in 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.

Also See: Punjab Kings vs Kolkata Knight Riders 2nd T20

“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.

Rana explained in his first media interaction as captain that he has been playing a leadership role within the franchise for several years, and he doesn’t want to let the captain’s title add extra pressure that could negatively impact his game. He acknowledged that some pressure comes with a new role, but he is embracing it and pointed out that he thrives under pressure.

Since joining KKR in 2018, Rana has scored 1,744 runs in 74 matches for the team, with an average of 26.02 and 11 half-centuries. In his overall IPL career, which includes playing 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 a strike rate of 134.22.

“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 highlighted the importance of man-management in the IPL and recognized the experience of senior players like Russell and Narine on the team. He also mentioned that he has support from the coaching staff, including Chandrakant Pandit. Rana’s captaincy record in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, India’s top T20I domestic competition, is impressive, with eight wins and four losses in 12 matches.

When asked about his captaincy style, Rana emphasized that he doesn’t follow anyone else’s approach and wants to lead the team in his own way, ensuring that he maintains his personal touch.

“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.

Kolkata Knight Riders will begin their IPL 2023 campaign against Punjab Kings on Saturday April 1 at Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali.

2023 Kolkata Knight Riders IPL Schedule Squad:

Nitish Rana (Captain), Shreyas Iyer (Captain), Mandeep Singh, Rinku Singh, Venkatesh Iyer, Anukul Roy, Shakib Al Hasan, David Wiese, Andre Russell, N Jagadeesan, Litton Das, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Vaibhav Arora, Lockie Ferguson, Harshit Rana, Kulwant Khejroliya, Sunil Narine, Tim Southee, Suyash Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Varun Chakaravarthy and Umesh Yadav

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