IPL 2020: KKR Nitish Rana overcomes his fear of facing express pace bowling by attending Mike Horn’s lectures

Kolkata Knight Riders batsman Nitish Rana says he has become better at embracing failures while overcoming his fear of facing express pace bowling by listening to renowned motivational speaker Mike Horn’s lectures.

Horn had worked with the Indian team that won the 2011 World Cup and the Germany football side that triumphed in the 2014 World Cup. Over the years, he has also worked with the Knight Riders.

“I have been following Mike Horn on Instagram for a long time, even before I joined KKR,” Rana was quoted as saying by kkr.in.

Rana, who plays for Delhi in the domestic circuit and has also led the side, joined KKR in 2018, the year his idol Gautam Gambhir moved to Delhi Capitals after achieving tremendous success as captain of the Shah Rukh Khan-owned franchise.

“I looked up to him (Horn) and often wondered how he managed to do so many things. When I was young, I used to get scared of pace and had doubts if I could ever face 140-plus kph fast bowling,” Rana said.

“When I personally met him and attended his lectures, I realised he was just not afraid of failures. He knows only how to gain (from them).

“I tried to absorb this quality from him. If you take up anything with this mindset that you have nothing to lose, you can only gain and perform better.”

Rana said one of the biggest moments of his life was captaining Gambhir for Delhi, having grown up idolising the former India opener.

“When I stayed, everyone said I could mimic cricketers’ actions really well. So people started saying, ‘Act like dada, act like dada’, so playing like him in my early days, copying his style back then, Ganguly’s style got ingrained in my game,” Rana said.

“But when I started playing seriously then it was Gambhir, because I grew up watching him bat from close quarters at the club. So just from seeing him bat in the flesh, I have picked up a lot from him.”

Both played club cricket together in Delhi, and Gambhir was Rana’s captain when he first played in the Ranji Trophy for Delhi.

“I don’t think our batting styles match, but people say that.

“And even if they say that, I have absolutely no problem with that because I have witnessed his batting so much from such close quarters for the last 12 years, that if there’s even a little glimpse of him in me, I will consider myself lucky.”

Rana took over as Delhi captain after Gambhir stepped down from the position in 2018.

“If you ask me about the biggest achievement of my career, I will say it was being appointed Delhi captain,” Rana said.

“The best feeling was to see Gambhir playing his last year (of domestic cricket) while I was captain. I played my first year under him and he played his last year under me.

“Gambhir had said that I was the right candidate to lead Delhi. Imagine such statements coming from your idol. This had to be one of the biggest moments of my life.”

Rana has scored four half centuries for KKR over the last two seasons, but he rates the match in which he grabbed the wickets of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers as the best of his IPL career so far.

“My favourite Knight Riders match is my debut match – against RCB – when I got Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers out in one over. Made 34 too in our win,” Rana said.

“I was out that day playing a poor shot, and Dinesh Karthik told me that day that if you want to be a big player, you need to finish games, and that has stayed with me.

“It was an important game for me, coming into a brand-new side, that performance was comforting.”