Chris Gayle impressed by Narine, Mark Waugh says Virat Kohli is due for a big one

I’m impressed with how Narine has shaped up, writes Chris Gayle in his column in The Times Of India. “We take on Team Kolkata in our next match. It will be interesting to play them in their own backyard. Eden Gardens is one of the most impressive grounds in the world and while, like the team, it has also changed around since the first couple of editions of the tournament. Kolkata will be a big game. They have some class players in the squad, with Kallis, Gambhir, Brett Lee and McCullum being some to look out for. Of course, Yusuf Pathan can fire at any time and with Sunil Narine doing so well for them as well, things could get close,” writes Gayle

Meanwhile Mark Waugh writes in his column in Hindustan Times that Royal Challengers would have been itching for revenge against the Chennai Super Kings after their first match-up, but rain robbed the fans of an exciting re-match.

“Now, Bangalore take on the Knight Riders in Saturday’s night game, and it will be two of the more glamorous teams facing off. Bangalore have some powerhitters but they will need to be careful. The track at the Eden Gardens has seen a score of 131 being chased down in the final over and another total of 134 being defended, which could make it difficult for stroke-makers. The slower bowlers will come into the picture and it will be interesting to see how the likes of Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers cope. Virat Kohli is due for a big one and he may look to this big-ticket game to stamp his authority,” says Waugh, adding that he would be interested to see whether Kolkata bring in an extra spinner, probably Shakib Al Hasan getting in place of either Brendon Mccullum or Brett Lee.

According to Jacques Kallis, team spirit is even more of a factor in a tournament like the IPL. “The teams are so closely matched with skills and physical strength that often results are decided by an immeasurable ‘X factor’. People call it many things, like ‘desire’ and ‘determination’, but where do they come from? For me, if you really get to know your teammates and respect them, you are more likely to want to play well for them and to experience success together,” writes Kallis in his column in HT.

“It’s amazing what a difference one or two uncommitted players can make to an entire squad. They may not be bad or selfish people, but if they are not certain of their place in the team — or certain of what direction their lives or careers are taking — bad energy can spread to other players. I have seen it in several teams over the last 20 years.”