Albert TUTI Patriots’ stand-in skipper Kaushik Gandhi and Team Mentor Monty Desai addressed the media ahead of their India Cements TN Premier League game against Lyca Kovai Kings in Chennai on Wednesday. Here is an excerpt from the interaction.

As Dinesh Karthik won’t play, who will be the stand-in skipper?

Monty: Kaushik (Gandhi) will lead the team.

How does it feel to lead the Albert TUTI Patriots?

Kaushik: I’m very proud to be a part of the team and it is a proud moment for me to be stand-in skipper. I don’t know if I can live up to Dinesh (Karthik) or Abhi’s (Abhinav Mukund) ability as a captain but then I’ll do my best and give it my best shot.

How tough is it to be in a side with such big names?

Kaushik: It’s actually easy because the pressure is not on me. The absence of DK and Abhi is definitely going to be a huge loss. It’s a coincidence that a domestic tournament (Duleep Trophy) is going on at the same time. We have a few good players in our team who can stand up and prove themselves.

What is your strategy for tomorrow’s game?

Monty: We are focused on being in the present. We have a wonderful squad and have prepared very well and are only focusing on our strengths. We want to maximise our potential through that. It’s a wonderful opportunity for a lot of our young players to step up and execute their roles.

How have preparations been as you had a long break since your first game?

Kaushik: It’s been a mixture. We’ve had few intense sessions and a day off. We have been practicing hard and have also focused on resting properly. It’s a long tournament and will be very tiring.

What are your thoughts on your next opponents, Lyca Kovai Kings?

Kaushik: It is a team game and I don’t want to name any particular player. They’ll also be eager to get their first win. We have very good team morale and it’s going to be a good contest.

What are your thoughts on the Chennai fans?

Kaushik: It was a big surprise for me. Personally, I’ve never played in front of such a big crowd and under lights. It will help local cricket and Tamil Nadu cricketers.

How important is rotation of strike going to be on this wicket?

Monty: I think the way the first game unfolded for us we could see that keeping wickets in hand is a good strategy. That is something that we’re looking forward to. A couple of dot balls here and there doesn’t really matter. We’ll try to go deeper in the game. If you see the second game both teams fought well and took it to the super-over. They really made a game out of it.

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