Kolkata: Defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders` morale was high after the now-fit skipper Gautam Gambhir arrived here and took part in the nets today, two days before the IPL-VI opener against Delhi Daredevils.
"The team`s morale is high. Captain Gautam Gambhir has arrived and took part in the nets," all-rounder Rajat Bhatia said after a strenuous workout at the Eden Gardens.
Gambhir, who has recovered from jaundice, and West Indies` mystery spinner Sunil Narine joined the squad during the day.
"Gautam is in good nick and is working hard to get his fitness back. We want the title again under him. To become champions it`s difficult, to stay on top it is more difficult," Bhatia said.
"You have to be self motivated. Give your best shot. Having won it has improved our concentration. We know how to tackle it now," he said.
Asked whether this IPL is special for Gambhir, who has been discarded from the current Indian team, the all rounder said, "Those who are not in the Indian squad will try hard to do well at the IPL so that they can make a comeback. It is the same for Gautam as well... He is also working very hard."
Bhatia, playing for KKR for the last two seasons, said it was difficult to emerge as champions in the league.
"But to retain it is more difficult."
On their motivation level this time, he said: "Last time we were motivated to win the championship. This time we are motivated to retain it. Chennai Super Kings have won it more than once, we are motivated to win it again."
On the wicket at the Eden Gardens, he expressed hope that it would suit the home side.
The Knight Riders are following the CSK-model this time around.
"We all know they have done it twice and that`s something we are looking to emulate."
Meanwhile, KKR principal owner and Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan and his troupe are expected to arrive here late tonight.
They would rehearse for the gala opening ceremony at the Saltlake Stadium on April two.
First Published: Sunday, March 31, 2013, 23:00