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Punjab need partnerships at the top: Gilchrist

Punjab need partnerships at the top: Gilchrist

Skipper Adam Gilchrist and fellow opener Paul Valthaty have failed to get substantial runs for the team so far.

Mohali: Deprived of solid opening partnerships so far in the tournament, Kings XI Punjab skipper Adam Gilchrist said his side will look to change the trend in their Indian Premier League match against Kolkata Knight Riders on Wednesday.

"We haven't quite had an opening partnership, myself and the other partner getting out early, and we are looking to change that," Gilchrist said at the pre-match conference on Tuesday. The top order's form has been a cause for concern for Punjab, with Gilchrist yet to make a substantial contribution with the bat. In contrast, some of the top Indian batsmen - including Virender Sehwag, Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma - have clicked for their respective teams at the top of the order.

This has not been the case for KXIP, however, and the other opener, Paul Valthaty, has also disappointed. Gilchrist said Valthaty, hero of the last edition of IPL, knew he could put up a better performance. "He is by no means out of content_cnion in this tournament. It is just that we haven't batted a perfect match or anywhere near that," he said.

After two initial losses, Punjab bounced back with two consecutive victories - one at home against Pune Warriors and the other a narrow two-run win over KKR at the Eden Gardens just two days back. After the win, Gilchrist heaped praise on his bowlers, especially Praveen Kumar, Harmeet Bansal and Piyush Chawla. "They were very committed, pretty disciplined and an overall great effort from them," he said.

On his own form, the Australian said that he had had two starts and two failures so far. "[In T20], we all want to go 10 an over risk-free when we bat, but unfortunately, that risk doesn't always pay off." Gilchrist also said that the nature of his batting has been aggressive over the years, be it T20, or any other format.

Having retired from international cricket, Gilchrist said that he enjoys playing in the IPL, with his role as coach, captain and wicketkeeper for his team keeping him busy. He admitted, though, that returning to IPL after being out of competitive cricket for a major part of the year was more of a "mental battle" than a physical one.

Regarding team selection, the Punjab skipper said fielding the same playing XI back-to-back helped the team to plan better and make their choices accordingly. At the same time, he said that former Pakistan all-rounder Azhar Mahmood is available for selection. "He's in content_cnion. It's nice to have him after a bit of delay. But we haven't finalised our 11 yet, but definitely he is available for selection," said Gilchrist.

Gilchrist said Kyle Abbott and Benjamin Cutting, replacements for the injured bowling duo of R Satish and Stuart Broad, will give the team further choice when they arrive. "Kyle is a very solid cricketer, a good all-round cricketer and he will be a good utility back-up," Gilchrist said, adding the team was waiting for the arrival of Cutting for the tournament.