Whatmore, Dahiya praise Gambhir

Kolkata :Kolkata Knight Riders think-tank today hailed Gautam Gambhir for his shrewd captaincy skills and said the left-hander is a popular figure in the team.

Team coach Dav Whatmore and his assistant Vijay Dahiya praised Gambhir in unison ahead of their clash with Mumbai Indians tomorrow.

"He (Gambhir) has been a wonderful captain. He has been terrific for the quiet way he goes about his business. He leads by example; he has got a pretty shrewd brain. He is a likeable character and a popular figure in the dressing room," said Whatmore.

Former Delhi coach Dahiya added: "You grow over a period. The quality about him is whatever the situation, he has backed himself."

"For him, team comes first and then the captain always. He is always thinking about the team first. That`s a huge quality as a leader. He got all the qualities you need in a leader. Leading a first-class side is different from leading in IPL."

The Knight Riders, who have assured their place in the last four after Kings XI Punjab lost against Deccan Chargers in Dharamsala tonight, have been one of the most consistent team in the IPL’s fourth season.

Under Gambhir, the Knight Riders have displayed superb team effort to overcome their disappointing show in the last three seasons as they have emerged as a strong contender for the title.

"There is a strong undercurrent, a feeling. First of all the objective was to get into playoffs. Once we have achieved that we need to go as far as we can. Only handful of games left, so we are looking forward," Whatmore said.

The Sri Lankan World Cup winning coach further said the boys this time were keener to execute the task in a superb team environment.

"Understandably, it`s pretty upbeat; everyone is buoyed, looking forward. You win games by skill, team thinks in a very healthy environment. That`s what we have tried to create. Inputs from number of people have helped.

"If you rewind it to the time before the auction, we have put in a number of hours behind formation of this team. We were flexible during the auction. At the end of it, we have got a team that we are happy with," he said.