Bangalore, Mar 12: Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) are ready to put in that extra effort to win the Indian Premier League (IPL) title this year, according to their paceman Lakshmipathy Balaji.
Former India fast bowler Balaji is one of the key players for KKR. He is hoping to do well in IPL 5 and take the team to the title.
"Definitely (we can win). We have to put in that extra effort this season to emerge on top," Balaji told Thatscricket in an exclusive interview.
IPL 5 will get under way in Chennai on April 4. This year, there will be nine teams as Kochi Tuskers Kerala was banned by the BCCI.
KKR had an ordinary start to IPL in the first season but last year, with a new-look unit, were always in the hunt for the top four slots. They reached the play-offs and ended fourth in the 10-team league
With Gautam Gambhir as the captain and big-hitter Yusuf Pathan in the ranks, KKR entertained their fans in 2011. They also qualified for the Champions League.
"We were always fighting for the top three spots last year. We did well in the league stage. When it comes to knockouts, in a Twenty20 anything can happen. We need to go that extra mile in those games," the 30-year-old said.
Balaji was at the National Cricket Academy (NCA), recovering from a left ankle problem. He will be back in action next week. He will be part of a pre-season camp with KKR.
"I was at the NCA for rehab. I had fluid collection in my left ankle. It is fine now and I will be back in action next week," the Tamil Nadu captain said.
In the last month's auction in Bangalore, KKR bought West Indian spinner Sunil Narine for $700,000, which surprised most of the players and owners.
Commenting on Narine's addition, Balaji said he can contribute to the team in a big way.
"Sunil Narine is a thinking cricketer. I have interacted with him during the Champions League. We also have New Zealand's big hitter Brendon McCullum and Marchant de Lange of South Africa. These additions will take us to the next level," Balaji felt.