Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Gautam Gambhir on Tuesday said the defending champions tag would not put any pressure on his team, which would look to play fearless cricket when it takes on Delhi Daredevils in the IPL opener on Wednesday.

“We’ve got the monkey off our back. Now is the time to go out there and play fearless cricket,” Gambhir said.

“Being the defending champions does not add to the pressure, it only gives us some extra confidence. KKR is a very popular team off the cricket field as well.”

Asked whether he was looking at IPL-6 as a platform to stake claim for national selection after the recent axing, Gambhir said, “I see this IPL as being the defending champions. I don’t play for individual things. I play for a team called KKR and I play as the defending champions nothing more than that.”

Gambhir said the absence of New Zealand explosive opener Brendon McCullum, nursing a hamstring problem, would not hurt the team’s cause.

“We’ve got a lot of quality in the dressing room. Now is the time to go out there and step up to the opportunity,” he said.

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