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On the eve of the opening clash against Deccan Chargers, Sourav Ganguly made his point straightaway that the best way to progress is by "executing" and not wasting time "planning." The Kolkata Knight Riders captain felt there was no point dissecting the past, and the better alternative was to go out and play. It was trademark Ganguly - he did not spell out his enemy, but he made his point, subtly, leaving no doubts in anyone's mind as to what he was referring to.

Ganguly, along with the new coach Dav Whatmore and the entire Kolkata management have been working hard on an entirely new platform, which from the outset has been more transparent and importantly, simpler, compared to the Sudoku grid John Buchanan had asked the squad to solve in order to excel in Twenty20 cricket. Ganguly hasn't forgotten the confusion and controversy that was created in the first two years of the IPL, but as the team's seniormost player, he understands he cannot afford to create any further haze when his primary job is to lead the team in the right direction.

"One needs to plan, especially when you are on the park. But I believe in execution. I don't believe in too many ideas or team meetings," Ganguly said, with a stern face, after a two-hour long training session at the Bandra-Kurla Complex ground. "I believe planning is 10% and execution 90%."

So batsmen played with straight, slanting and even upside-down bats as Whatmore offered them the freedom and space to understand what they were doing. At the other end, Wasim Akram mentored the bowlers including Ishant Sharma, Ashok Dinda, Mashrafe Mortaza and Jaydev Unadkat, the Under-19 bowler. Clearly, there was a sea change in the way the training session went about in the past.

In the first two years, various coaches would be spotted, busy noting down various things, just like a nurse records a patient's heartbeat, pulse etc. The paraphernalia was conspicuously absent today, replaced by more word-of-mouth signals, creating a different kind of buzz.

"I would like to leave the player to play to his strengths. That's how everybody has played and been successful. Maybe you can just tell them the amount of runs needed on the board or what has to be chased," Ganguly said. "Other than that, if I keep changing (the player's style) at this minute, it's not going to help."

While the majority of the teams managed to devise the right processes, along with the right combinations in the first two years of the IPL, Kolkata were affected by a lack of clarity. As a consequence they have underperformed in first two editions. Still, there is hope. Ask Adam Gilchrist, the Deccan Chargers captain, who said he could relate to his opponent's circumstances as he had been in the same spot that Kolkata now find themselves in: bottom of the barrel.

"I know that feeling. I've started the tournament like that before," Gilchrist said, denying the opening clash of the IPL tomorrow was a mismatch considering Deccan, the defending champions, are playing last year's wooden-spoon holders. "I don't think you can take it for granted that there are any mismatches in the tournament. Everyone starts afresh."

Ganguly has been stressing the same in his interactions with the squad, out in the open and behind closed doors. It is now up to the players to go out and express themselves.

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