By Jacques Kallis
One of my favourite coaches is Gary Kirsten – he’s very clever. By telling me I can have the day off to rest, he makes me want to train harder! I understand the value of rest but hard work is just as important to be successful in anything you do.
Trevor Bayliss reminds me very much of Gary. He encourages personal responsibility amongst the players rather than attempting to impose his style of leadership or coaching on the players.
Obviously the older, more experienced guys like me and ‘Binger’ Lee have been around long enough to know and understand what works best for our game and our fitness, but the younger players are also encouraged to make decisions for themselves about their training and preparation methods.
The whole structure of the management system at KKR has been geared towards the players taking charge of the team’s performances. After all, we’re the only ones who can score the runs and take the wickets.
I have mentioned the importance of team spirit before because it is even more of a factor in a tournament like the IPL than in almost any other. 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 team mates and respect them, you are more likely to want to play well for them and to experience success together.
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.
It’s no great secret that the KKR dressing room wasn’t always a happy place in the early years of the tournament but it’s providing one of the best vibes I’ve ever experienced at the moment. We have a strong leader in ‘Gauty’ (he likes to play the game hard) and a talented, diverse but well balanced group of individuals.
And we also have an excellent guitarist in ‘Binger’ – vital to good team spirit, I would say!
We also have another inspirational leader in Franchise owner, Shahrukh Khan. We see him at every game and he deserves a successful team. I still cannot believe how humble the man is. Living proof that enormous wealth and popularity does not need to change your personality. If anything, it seems to have made him even more modest.