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>"IPL will not run beyond seven weeks" says IPL chairman Lalit Modi


“IPL will not run beyond seven weeks”

The IPL will not run beyond seven weeks as extending it would “hurt other forms of cricket”, says IPL chairman Lalit Modi.

“We are going to have the current limitation (in the IPL’s duration), and we are happy to live with that. Then (if we make it a longer tournament) you are going to starting to hurt the other forms of the game,” Modi said.

“We chose the window specifically to be off-season in India, April-May are typically off season in India … I don’t think we are going to be able to change that,” he added.

The IPL will have 94 matches in the 2011 season but Modi said the tournament will only be 51 days long.

“It’s (next season) only over seven weeks instead of six, it’s over 51 days instead of 46, we have done the scheduling, we just have to announce it.”

Modi reiterated that Test cricket remains a priority for the BCCI.

“Test cricket is our bread and butter which people don’t understand, we are never going to compromise on Test cricket,” he told ‘Cricinfo’.

“When I talked about, you know, (how) we have to do something about Test cricket, it’s in the other countries that Test cricket is going down. In India, our ratings are going up, we have been tracking that year by year, in fact, we get paid highest for Test cricket,” Modi said.

Read Original Story – “IPL will not run beyond seven weeks”

March 9, 2010 Posted by | 2010, Cricket News, Indian Premier League, IPL News, Lalit Modi | Leave a comment

>IPL 2010 Team Preview: Chennai Super Kings


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The Chennai Super Kings and its fans will be hoping to turn things around during the third edition of the Indian Premier League beginning March 12th and make up for their loss in the finals of inaugural tournament to Shane Warne’s inspired Royals and the semi final loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 2009 edition in South Africa.

On paper they have to be one of the strongest and most well balanced of teams in the league led by India’s captain cool MS Dhoni. They have been rated as this year’s “most valuable team” in the IPL with a brand value of $48.4 million (app Rs.224 crores), which can only add to the pressure of getting their hands on the title that has eluded them.

CSK are off to a good start as they have an embarrassment of riches in the batting department with Australia’s Mathew Hayden at the top of the order. He was the winner of the “Orange Cap” in 2009, awarded to the highest run getter, finishing with an Average of 52 and a Strike Rate of 144.81 from 12 games. With his retirement from all other forms of the game, a well rested and raring to go Hayden can give most opening bowlers sleepless nights before a ball is bowled. Along with wicketkeeper batsman Parthiv Patel for company, the two can be counted on to get the team off to a rollicking start.

If you are lucky to get Hayden early, there is only more bad news to follow with hard hitting MS Dhoni who is all wrists as he mercilessly bludgeons the ball. If there are any questions about his form this season, one just has to watch his knock against a stunned South African attack in the second game of the recently concluded ODI series.

The very talented and growing in confidence Suresh Raina finished the 2009 IPL season as the second highest scorer in his team and will look to hold on to his no. 4 spot. His electric fielding in the covers and regular shy at the stumps, make him the kind of player that can turn a game around. Australia’s Michael Hussey gave the 2009 edition a miss in order to focus on the then upcoming Ashes series and has opted not to play this year with his call-up to the national squad for the series against New Zealand. Hussey played just four games for the Super Kings in the inaugural tournament and was among the top run getters averaging 84. Tasmanian right hand bat George Bailey played just 3 games in the 2009 edition without an impact and will probably warm the benches this time too.

Chennai has a host of talented all-rounders to choose from their foreign pool with Kiwi Jacob Oram (currently injured), South African Albie Morkel and its two new signings in the person of Justin Kemp and the exciting new talent from Sri Lanka Thisara Perera. South African Kemp was last seen playing for the Hyderabad Heroes in the Indian Cricket League, but with players from the disbanded rebel league being eligible to play for their country and therefore the IPL, Kemp was picked up for $100,000. It will remain to be seen how many games the new signings get to play given the four foreign player restriction in the playing XI and the wealth of talent and experience available. England’s Andrew Flintoff will miss out this year as he recovers from knee surgery that keeps him out cricket till July 2010. Freddy, as he is known to his mates, was picked up for a record $1.55 million in 2009 as was his teammate Kevin Pietersen, who went to Royal Challengers Bangalore.

When it comes to the bowling, MS Dhoni will have at his disposal the ever economical and lethal off-spin of Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan, who has hopefully recovered from a finger injury that kept him out of cricket since December 2009. Muralitharan and Albie Morkel were the leading wicket takers for CSK in 2009 with 14 wickets apiece. The gentle medium swing of India’s Laxmipathy Balaji will once again be on display as he strives to prove his fitness, after recurring injuries starting in 2004 banished him to the wilderness of Indian cricket. We will need to wait and see if mercurial South African seamer Makhaya Ntini is given a chance, having played just 9 games in his two years with the team and the franchisee might just prefer the right arm seam of Punjab’s Manpreet Singh Gony. The 6 foot 4 inch Gony has taken 22 wickets in 23 games played for the Super Kings so far and is no muck with the bat and capable of some lusty hits at the bottom of the order. The left-arm pace of Sri Lanka’s Thilan Thushara was on display for a couple of games in 2009 and he made an impact, taking 3 wickets at a strike rate of 16. New Indian call-up Sudeep Tyagi is also part of the Chennai set-up and may get a few games at the expense of Balaji and Gony should they not start well in the tournament. The surprise of 2009 for the Super Kings was Goa’s Shadab Jakati, bowling his slow left- arm orthodox. Jakati was ultra-consistent in the middle overs can be counted on to provide the breakthroughs by pegging the run rate and frustrating the opposition. Murali and Jakati stand between R Ashwin and a place in the playing XI, expect the young Indian offie to break into the side over the course of the four weeks.

What remains to be seen is if MS Dhoni dons the wicket-keepers gloves, making room for an accomplished batsman at the cost of Parthiv Patel. But that might only happen if Michael Hussey makes himself available for the tournament which would mean Morkel, Oram or Perera sitting out. This in turn could make way for C Ganapathy, who was one of the leading all-rounders in the Ranji Trophy this season.

Squad of 23:
Batsmen: Murali Vijay, Suresh Raina, Matthew Hayden, Michael Hussey, George Bailey, Subramaniam Badrinath, Arun Karthik, Hemang Badani
All Rounders: M S Dhoni (Capt), Albie Morkel, Jacob Oram, Parthiv Patel, Ganapathy Chandrasekhar, Thisara Perera, Justin Kemp
Bowlers: Muttiah Muralitharan, Manpreet Gony, Shadab Jakati, Ravichandran Ashwin, Sudeep Tyagi, Thilan Thushara, Makhaya Ntini, Laxmipathy Balaji

Staff: Coach: Stephen Flemming, Bowling Coach: Venkatesh Prasad, Trainer: Gregory King

Likely Playing 11: Mathew Hayden , Parthiv Patel , MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, S Badrinath, Albie Morkel, Justin Kemp, Shadab Jakati, MS Gony, L Balaji, M Muralitharan

Players to watch:
Ravichandran Ashwin (India): This young turk from Tamil Nadu will be desperate to make the playing XI from time to time having bowled his off- breaks in just one innings in IPL 2009 at an impressive economy of 3.25 runs, grabbing a couple of wickets to boot.

Albie Morkel (South Africa): Johannes Albertus Morkel, older brother to Morne Morkel who also plays international cricket for South Africa, should be one of the regular foreign signings in the playing XI giving his handy contributions. This 6’1 all-rounder bats left-handed and bowls right-arm fast with a batting average of 30.73 and a total of 32 wickets, including a 4 wicket haul in an innings, in the IPL to date.

Thisara Perera (Sri Lanka): He made his International debut against India in 2009 and smashed the ball to all parts to finish the series with an average of 42! Bowling right-arm medium-fast, he was successful with the ball grabbing 5 wickets in 6 games giving away just 3.47 runs per over. This ambidextrous lad, (he bats left- handed) who turns 21 on April 3rd, is all set to explode onto the IPL scene.

The Chennai Super Kings will meet the reigning IPL champions the Deccan Chargers on the 14th of March on their home ground. It’s a tough first game for any side, despite honours being even, given it will be a confident Chargers looking to carry on from where they left off in 2009. Next up would be the Kolkata Knight Riders, whom they have played on just three occasions and beaten twice. Any match played at the Eden Gardens will be an exciting affair as the partisan Kolkatta fans turn up in their thousands to watch their new signing, Kiwi pacer Shane Bond, who should join the squad after completing his ODI commitments. CSK will want to get amongst the points going into their game against the Delhi Daredevils, with whom they share an even win-loss record. The Daredevils have to be one of the favourites to win the title this year having bolstered their attack with the signing of young South African pacer Wayne Parnell for a princely sum of $617,000. Games against Kings XI Punjab whom they have never lost to, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals who both enjoy a 60% success rate against them and the Mumbai Indians with whom they share an even win-loss record, will see the completion of their first set of matches. CSK will be happy to win at least 5 of those 7 games and carry that form forward into the next round of matches. The likely semi final line-up on paper looks to be between the Super Kings, the Daredevils, the Chargers and Kings XI with the title once again being Chennai’s to lose.

CSK play their home games at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chepauk with a seating capacity of 50,000 and one would imagine the passionate Chennai fans would have a huge role to play in their team’s success. Oddly they lost 4 of the 7 games played at the Chidambaram stadium in IPL 2008 and still managed to get to the finals. That may be because the semi-finals were played in Mumbai. So much for home advantage!

Chennai Super Kings IPL 2010 Fixtures:

Schedule in Chennai
Mar 14, 2010 Sunday, Vs Deccan Chargers, 8pm
Mar 21, 2010 Sunday, Vs Punjab Kings, 8pm
Mar 31, 2010 Wednesday, Vs Royal Challengers, 4pm
Apr 03, 2010 Saturday, Vs Rajasthan Royals, 4pm
Apr 06, 2010 Tuesday, Vs Mumbai Indians, 8pm
Apr 13, 2010 Tuesday, Vs Kolkata Knight Riders, 8pm
Apr 15, 2010 Thursday, Vs Delhi Daredevils, 8pm

Schedule in Other Cities
Mar 16, 2010 Tuesday, Vs Kolkata Knight Riders, 8pm
Mar 19, 2010 Friday, Vs Delhi Daredevils, 4pm
Mar 23, 2010 Tuesday, Vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, 8pm
Mar 25, 2010 Thursday, Vs Mumbai Indians, 8pm
Mar 28, 2010 Sunday, Vs Rajasthan Royals (Ahmedabad), 4pm
Apr 10, 2010 Saturday, Vs Deccan Chargers (Nagpur), 4pm
Apr 18, 2010 Sunday, Vs Punjab Kings (Dharmasala), 4pm

March 9, 2010 Posted by | Chennai Super Kings, Indian Premier League, IPL, IPL 2010, Team Preview | Leave a comment

>IPL 2010 Team Preview: Mumbai Indians


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If there is one team that has consistently performed below their potential in both seasons of the IPL, it has to be the Mumbai Indians. The most-followed team on television finished just outside the top four in the inaugural edition of 2008, which also saw them come into their own with an inspirational six-match winnings streak between a disastrous start and lackluster finish. The second season in South Africa saw their fortunes slip further, as the finished above only the miserable Kolkata Knight Riders.

This year, however, the team in general has been making all the right noises in the buildup to the cash-rich cricketing spectacle. Foremost among these, the team owner, one of the richest men in the world, Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries, showed the depth of his pockets in the signing of Caribbean dynamite Kieron Pollard via an undisclosed tiebreaker, after tying with the Kolkata Knight Riders at the purchasing cap of $750,000. Also, captain Sachin Tendulkar has just slammed the first ever double ton in ODI history, and his personal luck and form are certain to carry into the Indians’ side once the IPL commences.

These factors, coupled with the abundance of talent that has just not clicked as yet when required, might just tip the scales in favour of the Indians. Besides, as seen in the previous edition, the teams finishing at the bottom in the first season contested the finals of the next, and if the trend is to continue, we may very well see the coveted trophy lifted by the veteran hands of the Little Master.

Player-by-player analysis:
Even in the presence of Pollard, the team’s main trump card remains the opening combination. The sight of stalwarts, no legends, like Sachin Tendulkar and Sanath Jayasuriya walking out to open the innings is enough to fill stands in their own right. This pair has easily spent the most number of days on a field playing international cricket and their combined experience is more than that of most XIs combined. Besides, one cannot write them off quoting T20 to be a young man’s game. Jayasuriya can still, on his day, put any young T20 specialist batsman to shame with his bludgeoning strokeplay. However, the rider ‘on his day’ stays and those ‘days’ are sadly fewer and far between as the years progress. Meanwhile, Sachin only continues to improve, as his latest exploits prove, and will, in all probability be at an unprecedented best this year.

Last year, the signing of JP Duminy had saved face for the Indians in a completely lackluster tournament. He was easily their most consistent player, with 5 fifties in his 12 outings, and had proved to be the backbone of the side. His stock has fallen considerably since last year, with some ordinary performances for South Africa, but he will be itching to prove his rise and rise of previous years was no fluke. Besides, his world-famous, or rather notorious partnership-breaking skills with the ball are bound to come in handy on the spin friendly Indian tracks.

Let us now come to the man who has generated most of the buzz around Mumbai. In earlier editions, Mumbai clearly lacked a lower-order finisher as was evident from how they seemed to lose games at the very end in close finishes. In the auction this year, they clearly gunned only and only for that man who could turn it around for them, Kieron Pollard (as we had clearly predicted before the auction). Pollard, at 22, has achieved a lot more than most 22-year olds do. He is something of a T20 nomad of sorts, playing in T20 leagues around the world. He shot to international superstardom with his brilliant 18-ball 54 in the Champions League for Trinidad and Tobago against the New South Wales Blues and single-handedly won the match from an impossible situation. He then was signed up by South Australia for the Aussie domestic KFC Twenty20 Big Bash, and helped them into the finals with his monstrous hitting. For the Mumbai Indians this year, he is a certainty in the playing XI and fans will look towards him to get the job done.

Pollard’s gain is likely to by fellow West Indian Dwayne Bravo’s loss as he will probably sit out seeing as only 4 overseas players are allowed in any playing XI. Bravo made a significant contribution lower down the order in the previous editions, but will probably only get his chance only if Duminy or Jayasuriya consistently underperform.

Mumbai has quite a few decent local batsmen to play around the big names, like Ajinkya Rahane, Abhishek Nayar, Shikhar Dhawan and Saurabh Tiwary. These boys will have to stand up and be counted if Mumbai are to fulfill their dreams. It has been seen in past editions that teams like Chennai and Delhi have proved consistently stronger because of their local batting depth.

The wicketkeeper’s slot has been a major weakness for Mumbai in the past. Wicketkeeper-batsmen have proved to be the most valuable players in the IPL, with names like MS Dhoni, Adam Gilchrist, Kumar Sangakkara and Brendon McCullum proving successful. Mumbai lacked a matchwinner in this position, and will see a change of personnel this year. Promising youngster Aditya Tare and Chandan Madan replace Pinal Shah and Yogesh Takawale, and Tare is likely to get the chance to play, unless a major change of strategy allows Aussie Luke Ronchi back into the squad of 23.

The bowling is where Mumbai’s class really comes through. They possess the best Indian pacer as well as spinner on offer, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh, and once again, let it be said that the team with the best local talent is most likely to come out on top with 7 out of 11 being Indians. Besides, Mumbai have the pace and firepower of lethal Sri Lankan slinger Lasith Malinga, who is more than capable of working up a furious pace, and his low-slung fiery Yorkers are among the best in the business. Dilhara Fernando comprises backup, and Graham Napier and Ryan McLaren are the two other overseas allrounders waiting in the wings. Dhawal Kulkarni has risen through the ranks of domestic first class circles in the past year and is likely to get the third pacer’s slot.

The Mumbai Indians have made smart use of the exodus of Indian players from the ICL, signing names like Ambati Rayudu and Rajagopal Sathish. These men have been fairly successful in the rebel league, not to mention the valuable experience they have of the shortest format, and it will be interesting to see how they figure in the Mumbai Indians’ scheme of things


Batsmen: Sachin Tendulkar, JP Duminy, Shikhar Dhawan, Saurabh Tiwary, Ambati Rayud, Abhishek Nayar
All-rounders: Sanath Jayasuriya, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Graham Napier, Ryan McLaren, Rajagopal Sathish, Ali Murtaza
Wicketkeepers: Chandan Madan, Aditya Tare, Luke Ronchi (not in squad of 23),
Bowlers: Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Lasith Malinga, Dilhara Fernando, Dhawal Kulkarni, Syed Sahabuddin, Ishan Malhotra, Rahul Shukla.

Support Staff:
Head Coach: Robin Singh, Deputy Coach: Paras Mhambrey, Fielding Coach: Jonty Rhodes, Fitness Coach: Ramji Srinivasan, Physiotherapist: Nitin Patel

Likely Playing XI: Sanath Jayasuriya, Sachin Tendulkar(capt), Ajinkya Rahane, JP Duminy, Abhishek Nayar, Kieron Pollard, Aditya Tare(wk), Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Lasith Malinga, Dhawal Kulkarni

Players to watch:

Kieron Pollard
: This one was a no-brainer. When you shell out $750000 on a T20 specialist, you expect great things from him. Moreover, he will get the ideal platform in the Mumbai side to launch his pyrotechnics, whereas had he been picked by someone else, he would have been forced to rub shoulders with another lower-order slogger as most other teams do already have one.
Abhishek Nayar: This man has been in red-hot form in the domestic first class season, and he has the game to convert that success to the shorter formats. We have had glimpses of his big-hitting in the previous seasons, and this might be the one in which he comes good big time. Besides, fringe players such as he will look upon the IPL as a way of getting into the reckoning for the upcoming World Twenty20 and a good performance will surely not go unnoticed.
Dark Horse: The ex-ICL stars – Ambati Rayudu and Rajagopal Sathish are unknown commodities due to their absence from conventional cricketing circles. All they need is that one opportunity at this level, and one may see them flourish.

Mumbai kickstart their campaign on the 13th of March, hosting the Rajasthan Royals at the Brabourne Stadium. They would want to begin on a winning note, especially as this time they are the stronger side on paper, and because they next face Delhi in Delhi, which might prove a hard nut to crack. Their next two games are at home against the Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Kolkata Knight Riders. The Royal Challengers have a 2-2 record against Mumbai, and hence, Mumbai would want to press the home advantage and go for a win, in a match that is likely to be closely contested, as past games between the two sides have proved. Mumbai have a complete dominance over Kolkata, winning all four matches against them handsomely, and would want to continue the same.

Mumbai thus should be targeting three wins out of the first four, as the next three matches are tough ones against giants Chennai, and Deccan and Punjab, all of whom have won against Mumbai thrice while losing just once. Thus at the halfway mark, Mumbai will be happy only with at least 4 wins, especially as all the games of the first leg are home games and the second leg against each side will be played away. Failing to win 4 matches out of 7 will make the second half of the tournament very difficult for Mumbai, and in such an eventuality it must be said Mumbai’s semi-final hopes will be dashed for a third year running.

Mumbai’s home games will be played at the historic Brabourne Stadium in Churchgate and at the ultramodern 55,000-seating DY Patil Stadium in Nerul, Navi Mumbai, which is the second-largest stadium in the country after Eden Gardens, Kolkata. Mumbai will be playing at Brabourne for the first time, as Wankhede Stadium had been the home venue in the first season and the second was outsourced to South Africa. Mumbai has thus far won 4 out of 7 home matches, which suggests they haven’t made full use of the home crowd support.

Mumbai Indians Fixtures:

Schedule in Mumbai:
Sat March 13 vs Rajasthan Royals (at Brabourne), 3pm
Sat March 20 vs Royal Challengers Bangalore (at Brabourne) , 8pm
Mon March 22 vs Kolkata Knightriders (at Brabourne) , 8pm
Thu March 25 vs Chennai Super Kings (at Brabourne) , 8pm
Sun March 28 vs Deccan Chargers (at DY Patil) , 8pm (supposedly an away game, but we know which way the crowd will sing)
Tue March 30 vs Kings XI Punjab (at Brabourne) , 8pm
Sat April 3 vs Deccan Chargers (at Brabourne) , 8pm
Tue April 13 vs Delhi Daredevils (at Brabourne) , 4pm

Schedule away from Mumbai:
Wed March 17 vs Delhi Daredevils , 8pm
Tue April 6 vs Chennai Super Kings , 8pm
Fri April 9 vs Kings XI Punjab , 8pm
Sun April 11 vs Rajasthan Royals , 8pm
Sat April 17 vs Royal Challengers Bangalore , 4pm
Mon April 19 vs Kolkata Knightriders , 8pm

March 9, 2010 Posted by | Indian Premier League, IPL, IPL 2010, Mumbai Indians, Team Preview | Leave a comment

>IPL 2010 Team Preview: Delhi Daredevils


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The Indian Premier League returns to its home in India and the franchise representing the capital city Delhi are looking to make it their year this time around. The Delhi Daredevils and their new captain Gautam Gambhir will try hard to banish the ghosts of ‘IPL Past’ and look to IPL 3 for sweet redemption. The last two editions of the Indian Premier League saw the Daredevils reach the semi-finals and crash out in disappointing fashion to the two eventual champions. The team in Red and Blue are one of the league’s most consistent and entertaining teams and they will be hoping that this consistency bears fruit this time around.

The blend of youth and experience present in the Daredevils dugout is enviable. Credit must be given to the GMR group for its consolidated ownership of the $84 million Franchise. The Daredevils team isn’t as fancy or as rich as Kolkata Knight Riders or Chennai Super Kings but it’s their no-nonsense attitude on the field that sets them apart from the rest.

The Team

The Delhi Daredevils have the one of world’s most potent opening pairs starting things off for them. The Nawab of Najafgarh Virender Sehwag is one of world cricket’s most exciting and aggressive batsman. He is currently atop the ICC test rankings for batsmen and has a number of records to his credit, including the fastest triple century in test cricket history. Viru has over 600 runs for Delhi Daredevils over the course of the two IPL seasons and the Airtel Champions trophy. The Indian Opener has been in scintillating form and could set the stage ablaze. Newly appointed captain Gautam Gambhir is Sehwag’s partner in crime upfront. The Delhi lad is known to metamorphose his style of play depending on the situation, a characteristic primarily responsible for his consistency over the past two years. His average of over 30 for Delhi is impressive considering the unpredictable nature of the T20 format and while Gambhir has the responsibility to lead the side, one feels confident that the local lad will handle all his roles perfectly.

If that wasn’t enough to savour, Delhi provides more threat via the immensely talented left handed David Warner. His strong stature coupled with his ability to play unorthodox shots like the ‘switch hit’ make him a multidimensional batsman. South African AB de Villiers has an impressive tour of India behind him and the right hand batsman with his reputation as one of the best fielders in the world can prove to be a important cog-wheel for the Delhi based Franchisee. Wicket Keeper batsman Dinesh Karthik is known to produce a flurry right at the end of the innings with the bat. He averages slightly over 30 in the IPL and has scored two impressive fifties in his time with the Daredevils.

Throw in Sri Lankan superstar Tillekeratne Dilshan and you have easily the most feared batting line-up in world cricket today.


The Delhi team have a decent line-up of all rounders. Australian Andrew McDonald who impressed during South Africa’s tour down under will look to make a larger contribution in IPL 3. Paul Collingwood is another one of Delhi Daredevils’ diabolic assets. The English T20 captain is impressive in all three departments of the game. He can pace the innings to his heart’s delight and take away the game from the opposition without them having so much as an inkling. Farveez Maharoof is another key all rounder who has an impressive average of 16.52 with the ball. He is a decent batsman and can take on the bowlers at will.

Moises Henriques is the new addition to the DD roster. He was traded with Kolkata Knight Riders for Owais Shah and Manoj Tiwary. Henriques impressed for Australia’s U-19 squad and is considered one of the most promising youngsters of the nation. He was part of the New South Wales side that won the Champions League T20 in India last year. Though Henriques had little success with Kolkata, more will be expected off him this time around.


Captain Gambhir has at his disposal a number of options when it comes to the bowling department. Indian veteran Ashish Nehra who was picked up last season from the Mumbai Indians has 32 IPL victims to his credit over the course of two seasons. Under 19 World Cup winner Pradeep Sangwan is another viable option for Gambhir. The 19 year old has 20 IPL wickets to his name and has a bowling average of under 30. Dirk Nannes will be playing his first IPL in India and with last year’s impressive performance under his belt, he is sure to be an immediate fan favourite. He picked up 15 wickets for the Daredevils last season and will hope to improve on that stat this year.

South African pace man Wayne Parnell is DD’s new acquisition bought for a whooping $610,000. He impressed at the T20 World Cup and the ICC Champions Trophy and has had a brilliant start to his limited overs International career. Parnell will provide stiff competition to Dirk Nannes for a place in the squad as DD are very dependent on their international players for picking up wickets.

The Delhi Daredevils have 2 front-line spinners in their squad. New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori who seems to turning into more of an all rounder is one of International cricket’s most consistent bowlers. He has 9 IPL wickets to his credit but has often had to sit out due to the foreign player cap. Indian leggie Amit Mishra has been impressive in the IPL. He has picked up 25 wickets with an average of just over 17. His googlies and leg breaks could help make crucial breakthroughs at times when the pace attack has malfunctioned.

Squad of 23:

Gautam Gambhir (Captain), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Moises Henriques, Rajat Bhatia, AB de Villiers, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Mithun Manhas, Andrew McDonald, Dirk Nannes, Ashish Nehra, Wayne Parnell, Shashi Ranjan, Aavishkar Salvi, Sarabjeet Ladda, Pradeep Sangwan, David Warner. Virender Sehwag, Sarandeep Singh, Joginder Singh, Umesh Yadav

Paul Collingwood, representing England in Bangladesh, and Daniel Vettori leading the BlackCaps against Australia are not in the squad of 23 to start the tournament, but could be called up by giving 24 hours notice at any stage over the next 4 weeks.

Coaching Staff: Head Coach – Greg Shipperd Assistant Head Coach – David Saker

Likely Playing 11: Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Tillakaratne Dilshan, AB de Villiers, Dinesh Karthik, Farveez Maharoof, Rajat Bhatia, Amit Mishra, Pradeep Sangwan, Ashish Nehra, Dirk Nannes.

Players to watch:

Virender Sehwag (India): the Indian opener is always a treat to watch and without the responsibility of captaincy on his shoulders one can safely assume that the blitzkrieg is certain this IPL season. His statistics in the IPL may not show highlight his obvious quality but Sehwag is one player you can never ignore.

Wayne Parnell (South Africa): The 20 year old has 23 wickets in 10 ODI‘s for his country and averages 21 runs per wicket. The South African averages a wicket every 17 runs for his country in the shortest format of the game. One can clearly see that this is year to shine and provide DD with the necessary fire power.

Dark Horse: AB de Villiers (South Africa): He can turn the game on its head with his adventurous stroke play. With his reputation as one of the world’s best fielders and his aggressive batting, AB de Villiers can nonchalantly win it for the Daredevils.

The Fixtures

Delhi’s IPL campaign kick starts with a trip to Mohali to face the King XI Punjab. The Daredevils have lost to Punjab on 3 of the 4 occasions these two sides met and a victory against them (led by new captain Kumara Sangakkara) would be a huge moral booster and could pave the way for a good season ahead. Delhi pack their bags and travel to Jaipur to meet 2008 Champions Rajasthan Royals 2 days later. The Royals and Daredevils have won 2 games each of the four between them. This match will put Shane Warne’s motivating skills to the test. Delhi return to Feroz Shah Kotla after a gap of almost two years to face the Mumbai Indians. The Indians have won just 1 of 4 against Delhi and the home side are odds on favourites to beat Tendulkar’s Army. Mahendra Singh Dhoni leads his Chennai Super Kings side in a mouth watering encounter against the Daredevils. An even win/loss record binds these two sides making this clash very intriguing. Delhi next travel to Cuttack to face defending Champions, the Deccan Chargers. Delhi is undefeated against the Chargers in the round robin games. West Indian speedster Kemar Roach was won in the auction by the Chargers for a whooping 720,000 USD and could play a major role in unsettling the Daredevil crusade early on. Purple Cap holder RP Singh is also in their ranks to provide the defending champions a more than decent chance to upset Delhi. Royal Challengers Bangalore host Delhi on 27th of March. Last year’s runners up, RCB, have defeated the Daredevils on just one occasion but that came the last time these two sides met, Bangalore winning by 7 wickets. Their last opponent in the first half of the league stages are Kolkata Knight Riders who will be making the daunting trip to Delhi. Gautam Gambhir and his men have a better head to head record against KKR, winning 2 of the 3 encounters between them. Shane Bond will be key in this match for the Knight Riders who recently picked the New Zealand fast bowler for over $750,000. Delhi will be hoping to win a large chunk of their home games and will target a minimum of four out of seven at the turn for sure. A good start to the campaign and more importantly a good finish in the knockout stages would be a target this time around for the team from the Capital.

Delhi play their home games at the Feroz Shah Kotla. The 48,000 capacity stadium has seen multitudes of records broken and created and is legendary when it comes to cricket in India. The pitch, however, has come in for tremendous recent scrutiny resulting in really mediocre low scoring contests during the Champions League before being declared unfit for an international against Sri Lanka. The curator will be under pressure to deliver a competitive square, especially with the ground under observation in the run up to the ICC World Cup next year. Delhi have won four and lost two of their six games here, a solid home record to say the least.

Schedule in Delhi (at Feroz Shah Kotla)

Wed March 17 vs. Mumbai Indians, 8 pm
Fri March 19 vs. Chennai Super Kings, 4 pm
Mon March 29 vs. Kolkata Knight Riders, 8 pm
Wed March 31 vs. Rajasthan Royals, 8 pm
Sun April 4 vs. Royal Challengers Bangalore, 8 pm
Sun April 11 vs. Kings XI Punjab, 4 pm
Sun April 18 vs. Deccan Chargers, 8 pm

Schedule away from Delhi

Sat March 13 vs. Kings XI Punjab, 8 pm
Mon March 15 vs. Rajasthan Royals, 8 pm
Sun March 21 vs. Deccan Chargers, 4 pm
Sat March 27 vs. Royal Challengers Bangalore, 8 pm
Wed April 7 vs. Kolkata Knight Riders, 8 pm
Tue April 13 vs. Mumbai Indians, 4 pm
Thu April 15 vs. Chennai Super Kings, 8pm

March 9, 2010 Posted by | Delhi Daredevils, Indian Premier League, IPL, IPL 2010, Team Preview | Leave a comment

>IPL 2010 Team Preview: Deccan Chargers


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IPL 2009 witnessed a fairy tale ending as the two teams that occupied the bottom two positions after the inaugural season in 2008 battled it out for the Iconic Twenty20 trophy in South Africa. It was the Deccan Chargers, the team that managed just two wins in the whole of IPL Season 1, who got the better of Royal Challengers Bangalore in a topsy turvy final in Johannesburg. It was an amazing turnaround for the Chargers from being rock bottom after the first season to claiming the title in the second. With IPL returning home to India, will the Aussie pair of Adam Gilichrist and Darren Lehman weave their magic once again and help the Chargers script another memorable tournament?

In the second season held in South Africa in 2009, Captain Gilichrist scored close to 500 runs, with Herschelle Gibbs and Rohit Sharma providing him good support with a run tally of in excess of 350 each for the entire tournament. Gilichrist and Rohit Sharma have been the Chargers’ main protagonists for major part of two seasons and another successful run to the final will surely depend on how well these two men can bat in IPL 3.0. Gibbs, who was a part of the South African ODI team that lost the series 1 – 2 to India in India last month, wasn’t in the greatest of touch and he would be hoping to rediscover his form when the Chargers begin on their title defence. The addition of the “Bullet from Barbados” – Kemar Roach, who can consistently clock speeds in excess of 150kmh, might prove to be the difference between the Chargers’ team that last played in India and the one that’ll set out to defend their title this year. The 21-year old hurls the ball at the rate of knots and has been touted as the most promising fast bowler to have come out of the West Indies in recent times. He burst onto the international scene after his fierce duel with Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting in the second test in Perth during West Indies’ tour Down Under last year which resulted in the latter being hospitalized after being hit by a Roach thunderbolt on the elbow. For a seriously quick bowler like Roach, the control that he possesses in delivering both yorkers and bouncers with ease is truly phenomenal. The batsmen who’d face Roach in IPL 3.0, better watch out for the West Indian tear away fast bowler as he says, “I want to bowl as consistently and as fast as possible and try to bowl what the batsmen don’t expect.”

The Australian pair of Gilichrist and the intimidating Andrew Symonds pick themselves as two of the overseas players for the defending IPL Champions while West Indian duo, Kemar Roach and Dwayne Smith will in all probability make up the quota of four overseas players. But, with Ryan Harris and the West Indian pair unavailable for the initial games, the veteran Sri Lankan Chaminda Vaas looks set to get a taste of the third edition of cricket’s Million Dollar Baby, at least for a couple of matches. Gibbs looks to be the most obvious choice for the fourth and final spot. But it wouldn’t some as a surprise if Captain Gilly and Coach Darren Lehman experiment by choosing fellow Aussie Mitchell Ross Marsh, who captained the Australian U-19 World Cup winning team, ahead of the misfiring Gibbs.

As the season moves on, it’ll be interesting to see who the Chargers actually leave out on the bench. It looks highly unlikely that the hard hitting Symonds will be left out of the team, unless he gets injured. So that leaves two positions that need to be filled in. Having spent a staggering USD 720,000 on Roach in the 2010 auction, DC are almost certain to give the West Indian an extended run in the tournament. However, Harris must be on his toes to grab onto to any opportunity that might present itself before him. Given the all round abilities of Dwayne Smith, Gibbs might be the unlucky one to sit out for most part of the cricket’s glittering event.

While the destructive batting line-up that the Deccan Chargers boasts of is undoubtedly their biggest asset, the team has rarely got a useful contribution from their Indian contingent with the exception of Sharma. VVS Laxman has more often than not looked out of place in this format, while Venugopal Rao hasn’t really done enough in the opportunities that he has got. T Suman though appears to be a useful prospect and might get the nod at the top of the order.

Though their batting packs a punch, the Chargers’ bowling looks far from capable of running through a team. Fidel Edwards has been ruled out of this season with knee surgery, but his compatriot Kemar Roach will do his best to ensure that Edwards’ absence is not felt. Indian team discard RP Singh was the cornerstone of the Deccan attack last year, winning the Purple Cap (awarded to the leading wicket taker) with 23 sticks. The 24-year old left arm quick also picked up 15 wickets the year before making him a bit of expert at this form of the game. RP will be keen on using this opportunity to impress the Indian selectors and earn a ticket to Twenty20 World Cup in the West Indies.
Another fringe player hoping to make an impression is young left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha, who carries the burden of the spin department on his shoulders. The third choice Indian spinner has had a fruitful couple of seasons in the Indian Premier League picking up 29 wickets in 28 games. Amazingly he concedes runs at less than 7 an over, giving him an average that is even more impressive than RP Singh. With the pitches in India known to assist the spinners, he will have a much greater role to play than he had to in South Africa last year.

To keep in with the IPL regulations, each franchise has selected a 23 man squad, which can be changed by furnishing a notice 48 hours prior to any match, from its list of registered players. Following is the initial squad put up by the Deccan Chargers:

Squad of 23
Batsmen: Adam Gilchrist (C & WK), Herschelle Gibbs, Mitchell Ross Marsh, Azhar Bilakhia, Ravi Teja, VVS Laxman, Venugopal Rao, Bodapati Sumanth, Anirudh Singh, Tirumalasetti Suman, Monish Mishra, Arjun Yadav

All Rounders: Andrew Symonds, Dwayne Smith, Rohit Sharma, Ashish Reddy, Rahul Sharma

Chaminda Vaas, Kemar Roach, Ryan Harris, Harmeet Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Rudra Pratap Singh

Support Staff
Coach: Darren Lehmann, Assistant Coach: Mike Young, Kanwaljit Singh, Physiotherapist: Sean Slattery, Fitness Expert: Steve Smith, Performance Analyst: Unni Krishan

Player Availability
As the West Indies are involved in an ODI series with Zimbabwe back home, the Caribbean pair of Kemar Roach and Dwayne Smith would join the Chargers’ squad in time for their team’s third game against Kings XI Punjab on March 19th. And with Australia locking horns with their Trans-Tasmanian rivals New Zealand in a 5 match ODI series followed by a two match test series, the IPL franchises with players from either side may have to wait till as late as April 1st when the second test ends. Ryan Harris, who is a part of Aussie ODI setup, would be available for selection for the Chargers only from the Kings XI game onwards.

Likely Starting XI: Gilchrist (C & WK), Gibbs, Suman, Symonds, Rohit Sharma, Venugopal Rao, Azhar Bilakhia, Harmeet Singh, Ojha, Vaas, R P Singh

Players to Watch
Adam Gilichrist: The Aussie wicket-keeper batsman holds the key for Chargers. It was his brilliant batting coupled with shrewd leadership that enabled the Chargers conquer IPL-2 and the onus will again be on him to lead his side from the front. Gilly is the Chargers’ top scorer in the Indian Premier League with 931 runs in 30 matches with a strike rate of 145.

Rohit Sharma: He seems to have that extra time to play shots which is a hallmark of great players. Sharma had a wonderful IPL in South Africa contributing not just with the bat but also with the ball. He scored 362 runs in 16 matches and picked up 11 wickets that included a hatrick against Mumbai Indians. Though Sharma has been excellent for the Chargers in both the campaigns, he has failed to translate that form in Indian colors. The Deccan Chargers, however, will be hoping that their youngster fires once again for them in IPL 3.0.

Andrew Symonds (Dark Horse): The former Aussie all-rounder has dropped out of the limelight owing to issues related to non-cricketing matters. Despite not playing for the country, the burly Queenslander can still prove out to be the trump card for the Chargers. His brute force and impeccable agility in the field make him one of the best players in the shortest format of the game.

It has been far from an ideal preparation for the Chargers as the agitations in Hyderabad for a separate state of Telangana have crept their way into cricket. While the debate of whether sports and politics should cross lines rages on, its ill effects have started to take a toll on the cricket crazy Hyderabad fans. Owing to the political unrest in the region, the 2009 Champions were forced, by the IPL, to schedule their home fixtures outside Andhra Pradesh for this season. Later, when the Chargers threatened to pull out of IPL-3, the IPL Governing council granted two matches in the Chargers’ catchment area of Cuttack with further promises of holding a couple of matches if the situation improves. But the team owned by the Deccan Chronicle media group might consider the recent developments a blessing in disguise given the fact that they have never won a game in front of their home crowd, be it in the opening season of IPL or the inaugural edition of the Champions League T20 last year.

All said and done, the Deccan Chargers will be keen to kick-off their IPL title defense on a high. They open their campaign at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai against the Kolkata Knight Riders on March 12th. DC skipper Gilichrist will have fond memories to take to Mumbai as the last time his team played at that venue; he set the stadium alight with the fastest century (42 balls) in the IPL en route to help chase down a 150 odd score in 12 overs.
The Chargers then travel to M. A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, which is only the second ground in India where they have tasted victory. After a couple of home games against Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils in their Cuttack, they travel to Ahmedabad to take on the inaugural IPL Champions Rajasthan Royals. The match against Mumbai in Navi Mumbai on 28th March will be an interesting one to watch as it has been scheduled as a home tie for Chargers.

While the Chargers do have a poor record against most teams in the IPL, including the Kings XI Punjab and the Delhi Daredevils, both of whom they have never beaten in the League stage, they did come away with the biggest prize of them all last season. That too, by upsetting the odds against the Daredevils in the semi-finals in South Africa. What will be key for Deccan is the start they have to the tournament, and should they lose their opening two games due to a considerably weakened squad, they might just find themselves turning into everyone’s favourite whipping boys once again.

Deccan Chargers IPL Fixtures

Scheduled Home Games
Mar 12, 2010 Friday, Vs Kolkata Knight Riders (Navi Mumbai), 8 pm
Mar 19, 2010 Friday, Vs Kings XI Punjab (Cuttack), 8pm
Mar 21, 2010 Sunday, Vs Delhi Daredevils (Cuttack), 4pm
Mar 28, 2010 Sunday, Vs Mumbai Indians (Navi Mumbai), 8 pm
Apr 05, 2010 Monday, Vs Rajasthan Royals (Nagpur), 8 pm
Apr 10, 2010 Saturday, Vs Chennai Super Kings (Nagpur), 4 pm
Apr 12, 2010 Monday, Vs Royal Challengers Bangalore (Nagpur), 8 pm

Scheduled Away Games
Mar 14, 2010 Sunday, Vs Chennai Super Kings, 8 pm
Mar 26, 2010 Friday, Vs Rajasthan Royals (Ahmedabad), 8 pm
Apr 01, 2010 Thursday, Vs Kolkata Knight Riders, 8 pm
Apr 03, 2010 Saturday, Vs Mumbai Indians, 8 pm
Apr 08, 2010 Thursday, Vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, 8 pm
Apr 16, 2010 Friday, Vs Kings XI Punjab (Dharamsala), 8pm
Apr 18, 2010 Sunday, Vs Delhi Daredevils, 8 pm

March 9, 2010 Posted by | Deccan Chargers, Indian Premier League, IPL, IPL 2010, IPL Team, Team Preview | Leave a comment

>IPL 2010 Team Preview: Kings XI Punjab


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The Kings XI Punjab are undoubtedly one of the most talented sides in the Indian Premier League, but they seem to lack that killer instinct and the X-factor that teams like the Delhi Daredevils and the Chennai Super Kings possess. With Bollywood beauty and team co-owner Priety Zinta providing the glamour off the field, the Kings XI will have to do all the talking on it, to back the wonderful support that their team owners have given them. Though they lost only four games in the inaugural IPL, they were knocked out in the semi-finals by beaten finalists Chennai Super Kings. In South Africa last year, they failed to go past the group stage as they had to bite the dust in their final game against Chennai once again. With pressure to perform and stakes being raised to whole new levels, the underachievers of the IPL will be hoping to at least go one step further than what they did in IPL-1 and definitely better than IPL-2.

The stylish Sri Lanka wicket keeper batsman Kumar Sangakkara has been appointed Captain of the Kings XI Punjab for the third edition of the “Million Dollar Baby” IPL replacing Indian poster boy Yuvraj Singh. Three new local players have been added to strengthen the squad for the upcoming IPL season. Love Ablish, right arm fast bowler from Punjab, Shalabh Srivastava, left arm seamer from Uttar Pradesh and young sensation wicket keeper batsman Manvinder Bisla from Himachal Pradesh are the additions. Former India middle order batsman Mohammad Kaif, who played for the Rajasthan Royals in the inaugural IPL and Yusuf Abdulla have been bought by the franchise during the player auction on January 19. While Australian batsman Luke Pomersbach and Sri Lankan pacer Nuwan Kulasekara were picked up ahead of the 2010 auction.

The Kings XI boast of an exciting batting line-up that has a perfect blend of experience and youth. Shaun Marsh, arguably the find of the inaugural IPL, will open the innings with young left handed Punjab Ranji batsman Karan Goel. Marsh won the Orange Cap in IPL-1 as a reward for his exploits with the bat which enabled him to top the batting statistics. His 616 runs in 11 matches in season one at an average of 68.44 and an impressive strike rate of shade under 140 included one century and five fifties. Though the Aussie opener has been ruled out of the ongoing New Zealand – Australia ODI series with a back injury, he has been named in the initial 23-man squad by the Kings XI. A lot will depend on Marsh as it is the openers that set the tone in a Twenty20 match. They even have the new kid on the block Adrian Barath to fill in the opener’s slot in case Marsh is unfit for the early part of the campaign. The young Trinidadian, who registered his maiden test ton against the Australians last year, showed great potential during the Champions League T20. His involvement in the tournament though will largely be decided by the injuries and lack of form of other overseas players in the squad.

The middle order is perhaps the Kings XI’s biggest strength which has seasoned Internationals like Sri Lankans’ Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, swash buckling Indian stalwart Yuvraj Singh and England’s big-hitter Ravi Bopara. Yuvraj and Sangakkara, who were Punjab’s best performers with the bat in South Africa with each of them scoring in excess of 300 runs, will once again have to carry the burden of their team’s batting on their shoulders. Bopara and Jayawardene might have to fight it out for the spot in the playing XI in case Marsh is fit. The former Sri Lankan skipper Jayawardene looks to be ahead in that race especially with his proven track record on the International stage. (and his compatriot Sangakkara at the helm)

All Rounders

The Mohali based franchise have struck the right chords as far as the player selection is concerned, which can be easily understood from the quality all rounders that they have at their disposal. The Australian James Hopes, who is in the Australian team battling their Trans Tasmanian rivals New Zealand, hasn’t set the stage on fire in the IPL but his all round ability with both the bat and the ball make him one of the most useful cricketers. The Indian pair of Irfan Pathan and Piyush Chawla, though known predominantly for their bowling, can make very good use of the long handle that can hurt any opposition during the end of the innings. The recent acquisition of Patiala cricketer, Reetinder Singh Sodhi further strengthens the all rounders’ department for the Kings XI. Sodhi is a hard hitting batsman, no non-sense medium pacer and an exceptional fielder. He returns to limelight after breaking ties with the rebel Indian Cricket League in which he played for the Ahmedabad Rockets.

Yuvraj Singh has emerged as the Kings XI’s prime all rounder after his bowling exploits in South Africa last year that included two hatricks, one against Royal Challengers Bangalore and another against the reigning IPL Champions Deccan Chargers (incidentally the two finalists!) to go with the 340 runs he scored. He has become a regular in the Indian bowling setup as well chipping in with useful overs and crucial wickets.

The bowling has a lot of Indian flavor to it barring the Australian speedster Brett Lee and young South African seamer Yusuf Abdulla. Irfan Pathan is the Kings XI Punjab’s leading wicket taker in the IPL with 28 strikes and joint second overall with Shane Warne, behind compatriot RP Singh. He will have to carry his impressive IPL-2 form into the third edition and lead the attack along with the temperamental S Sreesanth. Lee, who announced his retirement from test cricket in order to prolong his career in the shorter formats of the game, has targeted the IPL to be the stepping stone for his return to the Australian ODI and T20 teams. He had missed the entire Australian summer due to an elbow injury and his fitness in the high octane IPL will be crucial not only for his chances of making to the World T20 later this year but also to his franchises’ title hopes.

Yusuf Abdulla, who played for the Kings XI during the South African edition of the IPL, has been bought by the franchise for $250,000 during the player auction. He had an impressive debut picking up 14 wickets in 9 matches at an impressive strike rate of 12. His bustling action and experience in the shortest format of the game will come in handy in the IPL.

The spin department will be taken care by the two Indian spinners Romesh Powar and Piyush Chawla. The wily off spinner Powar might have to warm the bench if the team think tank opts for a lone spinner strategy. The young Piyush Chawla had a decent IPL-2 picking up 12 wickets but he will be hoping for a much improved performance in IPL 3.0. Chawla posses an excellent googly but it is his normal leg spin that needs fine tuning. IPL 3.0 will provide him with an ideal opportunity to get back into the Indian scheme of things for the upcoming Twenty20 World Cup.

Squad of 23:

Batsmen: Kumar Sangakkara (C & WK), Karan Goel, Adrian Barath, Ravi Bopara, Mahela Jayawardena, Mohammad Kaif, Shaun Marsh, Bipul Sharma, Tanmay Srivastava

All Rounders: James Hopes, Irfan Pathan, Yuvraj Singh, Reetinder Singh Sodhi, Manvinder Bisla (WK), Piyush Chawla

Bowlers: Romesh Powar, Brett Lee, Sreesanth, Yusuf Abdulla, Love Ablish, Vikramjeet Malik, Amarpreet Singh, Shalabh Srivastava

Support Staff: Head Coach Tom Moody, Assistant Coach Trevor Penney, Dave Nosworthy Physiotherapist Patrick Farhart

Likely Playing XI: Karan Goel, Shaun Marsh, Kumar Sangakkara (C), Yuvraj Singh, Mahela Jayawardena/Ravi Bopara, Mohammad Kaif, Irfan Pathan, Piyush Chawla, Romesh Powar, Brett Lee/Yusuf Abdulla, S Sreesanth

Players to Watch

Kumar Sangakkara: The Sri Lankan Captain was in scintillating form against India when his team toured India last year and also in Bangladesh during the tri-nation ODI series. Being the skipper, he would look to lead his team from the front which he does so admirably for his national team. Expect great things from this level headed cricketer as things heat up in IPL 3.0.

Yuvraj Singh: The Punjab south-paw has been on the sidelines since tearing a ligament in his left wrist in late January that ruled him out of the second test in Bangladesh and the whole of South Africa’s tour to India. But Yuvi, the first and only man to hit 6 sixes in an over in T20 internationals, will take to IPL as fish to water. 6 sixes in an over may not be on the cards, but fireworks are guaranteed when Yuvi is at the crease.

Adrian Barath (dark horse): The diminutive West Indian opener took the cricketing world by storm with his carefree and exciting batting style in the inaugural Champions LeagueT20 last year playing for his side Trinidad and Tobago. He could well prove out to be the surprise package of the tournament.


Kings XI Punjab will kick start their IPL campaign by hosting last year’s beaten semi-finalists Delhi Daredevils against whom they enjoy a very good record. In the four matches that they have battled, Kings XI have come on tops on 3 occasions with the home fixture for Delhi in Cape Town last year being the only exception. After a series of away matches to RCB, Deccan Chargers and Chennai Super Kings, they host the inaugural IPL Champions Rajasthan Royals and Priety Zinty’s Bollywood buddy, Shah Rukh Khan owned team KKR. The game against Chennai promises to be a real tester for the Kings XI as M S Dhoni led side have never been beaten by the Mohali based franchise in the IPL so far. Games against R ajasthan and Kolkata, against whom they share an equal win-loss percentage, might prove out to be the ones that’ll decide whether they head into the second half of the tournament in the top half or bottom.

It is very interesting to note the superiority that Kings XI Punjab hold against teams like the Deccan Chargers (4 – 0), Mumbai Indians (3 – 1), Royal Challengers Bangalore (3 – 1) and Delhi Daredevils (3 – 1). Yet they somehow seem to be the outside contenders for the cash rich IPL trophy. With no big name new signings to speak of, Kings XI Punjab will really have to play better with the team they had for most of the last couple of seasons.

Mohali is the base of Kings XI Punjab but this year, the franchise has decided to host a couple of games in the scenic Dharamsala. The Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) Stadium in Mohali is one the best stadiums in the country with world class practice facilities, spectator stands and media provisions. Though initially the track was one of the best in the country for pace bowlers, it has now lost some of its venom and has settled down to a batsmen’s paradise. Kings XI enjoy a spectacular record at the PCA stadium winning 6 of their 7 games, a loss against Chennai being the only exception. And they would look to not only maintain that record in Mohali but also extend it to their new home in Dharamsala. The Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) Stadium is arguably one of the most picturesque sporting grounds in India and will roll out the red carpet in the hope of attracting a future franchisee.

Home Games

Mar 13, 2010, Saturday, Vs Delhi Daredevils (Mohali), 8 pm
Mar 24, 2010, Wednesday, Vs Rajasthan Royals (Mohali), 8 pm
Mar 27, 2010, Saturday, Vs Kolkata Knight Riders (Mohali), 4 pm
Apr 02, 2010, Friday, Vs Royal Challengers Bangalore (Mohali), 8 pm
Apr 09, 2010, Friday, Vs Mumbai Indians (Mohali), 8 pm
Apr 16, 2010, Friday, Vs Deccan Chargers (Dharamsala), 4 pm
Apr 18, 2010, Sunday, Vs Chennai Super Kings (Dharamsala), 4 pm

Away Games

Mar 16, 2010, Tuesday, Vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, 4 pm
Mar 19, 2010, Friday, Vs Deccan Chargers (Cuttack), 8 pm
Mar 21, 2010, Sunday, Vs Chennai Super Kings, 8pm
Mar 30, 2010, Tuesday, Vs Mumbai Indians, 8 pm
Apr 04, 2010, Sunday, Vs Kolkata Knight Riders, 4 pm
Apr 07, 2010, Wednesday, Vs Rajasthan Royals, 4 pm
Apr 11, 2010, Sunday, Vs Delhi Daredevils, 4 pm

March 9, 2010 Posted by | Indian Premier League, IPL, IPL 2010, Kings XI Punjab, Team Preview | Leave a comment

>IPL 2010 Team Preview: Rajasthan Royals


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The Rajasthan Royals look to make it 2 from 2 on home soil as the IPL returns to its roots. The Royals who astonished one and all with a stellar showing in the inaugural season of IPL failed to live up to the fostered level of expectations in the 2nd season held in South Africa. They went completely downhill winning just 6 games of a possible 14 and ending the competition in 6th place. With the disappointment behind them the Royals look to turn a new leaf in their young history.

The Royals are owned by the glamourous Shilpa Shetty and her husband cum business partner Raj Kundra. The two moguls own the league’s most economical bunch of players and their investment has been somewhat subdued in comparison to the other franchisees.

Shane Warne leads the Rajasthan contingent both on the field and off it. The Australian has been heaped with praise for his success as both captain and coach. He will be hoping to banish the demons of IPL 2 and lead the team to their 2nd IPL title.

Abhishek Jhunjhunwala and Damien Martyn are two players drafted in from the ICL. Both of them will add solidity to an otherwise weak batting line-up and the Royals will be hoping their investment pays off. Batsman Michael Lumb was also picked up on coach Shane Warne’s recommendation. Shane Watson and Ravindra Jadeja are two key absentees and their place doesn’t seem likely to be filled with the current crop of players.

Player Analysis

The Rajasthan Royals kick start their innings with opener and South African skipper Graeme Smith. The tall left-hander had a very impressive outing in the 1st season of IPL scoring over 400 runs at an average of around 50 runs a game. His performances dipped in the 2nd season which consequentially led to the lackluster performance of his team. Smith’s performance will be crucial this term as he is easily their most prolific and classy batsman, a good performance from him could see the Royals relive the glory days of 2008. Retired Australian veteran Damien Martyn adds to the solidity of the batting line-up with his elegant stroke making. He was signed by the Rajasthan Royals for a mere $100,000 this year after his stint at the rebel Indian Cricket League. The right hander has an international record that speaks for itself and though he didn’t fare too well while playing for the Ahmedabad Rockets in the ICL, Martyn will add vital experience to the shaky Royals team. Another foreigner Michael Lumb was picked up for a bargain price of $30,000 by the Royals. He teamed up with Captain Shane Warne at Hampshire and one would think that the Australian had a major role to play in the signing of the 30-year old Englishman. Lumb has a batting average of over 25 in domestic T20 games and has the rare distinction of having scored an unbeaten century in the tiniest format of the game for his county side. The Hampshire batman’s strike rate is around the 150 mark, an important figure for success in this format of the game.

Swapnil Asnodkar and Abhishek Jhunjhunwala add the domestic spice to the largely foreign batting line up. The short but aggressive right hander Asnodkar fostered a lethal opening partnership with Graeme Smith and together the two became the most successful opening pair of the inaugural IPL season. The Goan made a brilliantly crafted 60 on his debut against KKR off just 34 balls and hasn’t looked back since. He was easily one of the finds of season 1 and will be looking to add to his repute this time out. Jhunjhunwala is another deflecting heretic making his way into the IPL from ICL. The talented middle-order batsman had over 600 runs for his ICL franchisee – The Royal Bengal Tigers – and was also known for his brilliance in the field, having 12 catches to his credit.

All rounders
Yusuf Pathan is one of the more established Indians in the Rajasthan Royals team. His slam-bam style coupled with his prowess as a finisher makes him a potent batsman. Pathan is a regular fixture in India’s T20 squads and with both his bowling and fielding being more than capable to turn a game around; one would think a lot of responsibility will be placed on the shoulders of the 27-year old.

Dimitri Mascarenhas who had been the only Englishman in the inaugural IPL is another key all rounder for the Royals. Mascarenhas’ attacking style with the bat is renowned especially due to his 30 runs off Yuvraj Singh in a single over at the Oval. The right handed batsman is a more than capable medium pace bowler and has 8 wickets from 6 games in the IPL.

Naman Ojha is the only recognized wicket-keeper the Royals possess in their squad. He was signed prior to last season’s tournament and played a key role in their limited success last year. He has two IPL half centuries to his name and a crucial year behind the stumps beckons the MP lad.

Shane Warne will have his work cut out as he will have to choose from an array of internationally acclaimed bowlers. Shaun Tait leads the plethora of International stars in the Royal squad. The right arm fast bowler has a slingy arm action that makes him very deadly. He was on a sabbatical for two years and returned to the International fray with good performances for the Australia A side. Tait has a bowling average of 13.80 in domestic T20 and will be given the responsibility to cause problems early on. Munaf Patel will in all possibility partner Tait in the bowling attack. Munaf is one of Rajasthan Royals’ primary wicket takers and has more than 25 IPL wickets to his credit. The bowler’s inconsistency and his lackadaisical attitude have often led to widespread criticism but there is no doubt that this talented bloke is very effective with the ball between his fingers.

Morne Morkel is another option for Shane Warne to look at when he chooses his starting 11. Morkel is a right handed bowler with genuine pace who is picked for test matches, but seldom makes the playing eleven for the shorter formats for the national side. Morkel has had his highs, one would remember the first ever T20 World Cup where the South African pace man shined.

In the spin department, Shane Warne and Johan Botha are the two main bowlers to fight it out. Warne is the captain of the side and will be a staple in the starting line-up. He is the league’s second highest wicket taker and will surely be the most crucial bowler of the side. Johan Botha on the other hand would have to live with the fact that the team requires him to play the role of a benchwarmer unless there is an injury to their charasmatic leader.

Amongst the Indian players, the Royals possess talented medium pace bowler Siddharth Trivedi. Trivedi has 19 IPL wickets to his name and will be mostly remembered for his spell against Mumbai Indians in IPL 1 where he picked up wickets of both Sanath Jayasuria and Sachin Tendulkar to change the course of the game for the Royals.

Shane Watson and Ravidra Jadeja are key absentees for the Royals this season. Watson who has been asked by Cricket Australia to skip the IPL in order to have some off-time after a long season. He missed last year’s IPL as well and the Royals haven’t been able to replace the eclectic cricketer. Jadeja on the other hand was penalized for trying to negotiate terms with another franchisee and is suspended from this year’s IPL. His case is with the BCCI President under appeal, and it is possible that his suspension be reduced to give the allrounder some much needed game time before the World Cup.

Squad of 23:

Batsman: Graeme Smith, Michael Lumb, Adam Vogues, Damien Martyn, Swapnil Asnodkar, Faiz Fazal, Abhishek Jhunjhunwala, Syed Quadri, Amit Paunikar

All rounders: Yusuf Pathan, Shrikant Wagh, Dimitri Mascarenhnas, Abhishek Raut, Naman Ojha (wk)

Bowlers: Shane Warne, Shaun Tait, Johan Botha, Morne Morkel, Munaf Patel, Siddharth Trivedi, Sumit Narwal, Amit Singh, Kamran Khan

Likely XI: Smith, Asnodkar, Jhunjhunwala, Lumb, Pathan, Ojha, Warne, Trivedi, Patel, Tait, Kamran Khan

Players to Watch

Graeme Smith: For the Royals to succeed the South African has to lead the charge with his bat upfront. With runs on the board early on, a lot of pressure can be put on the opposition and Smith will be asked to do exactly that.

Shaun Tait: The super-fast bowler will be making his IPL debut and one would expect him to scare the wits out of batsmen with his pace. The Australian is a proven wicket taker at the International level and with Sohail Tanvir’s bowling spot up for grabs one feels Tait has what it takes to succeed in the league.

Michael Lumb (Dark Horse): the 30-year old impressed the RR’s camp and will be expected to keep the score board ticking at a decent pace. The Englishman seems the sort of person who could really bludgeon the opposition once he gets his eye in and Shane Warne will be hoping his acquisition is spot on.


The Royals kick start their campaign against multi-starrer Mumbai Indians at the Brabourne Stadium. The Royals have a better head-to-head record against the Indians and this tussle between age-old foes Warne and Tendulkar will provide huge amounts of entertainment. Next, the Rajasthan Royals return to their second home in Ahmedabad to face the Delhi Daredevils. The Daredevils are a very strong opposition and even though both teams have an even head-to-head record it would be difficult to stand against Delhi in this one. An arduous encounter against Delhi is followed by a trip to the Chinnaswamy Stadium to face IPL 2 runners-up Royal Challengers Bangalore. Shane Warne has led his side to 3 victories out of the four times these two sides have met. The Bangalore team is also led by a spin legend in Anil Kumble who will be under constant scrutiny from demanding owner Vijay Mallaya. The Sardar Patel Stadium hosts its second game when popular KKR come calling. Kolkata beat the Royals last time these two sides met but otherwise Royals have always come out as victors. With Saurav Ganguly now in-charge and Shane Bond leading the bowling attack one would be naïve in writing off KKR’s performances despite their poor on field performances in the past. A visit to Mohali next will pit the brains of the legendary Australian against the wits of Sri Lankan Captain Kumar Sangakkara. Both these teams failed to make the cut last season after promising so much in IPL 1. This will be a very closely contested encounter and one that should really set the stage ablaze. Defending Champions Deccan Chargers visit the Sardar Patel Stadium on 26th March and this clash of two IPL Champions will make for a great story. Gilly and Warne are two of Australia’s modern greats and a tussle between them is a mouth-watering prospect. Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings visit is the last of the first legs, and with the array of talent Chennai possesses, one would consider Rajasthan as huge underdogs for the clash.

The Royals will be hoping to qualify for the semis this time around and victories over the likes of Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore and even Deccan could be essential to their aspirations in the first half of the league fixtures. Delhi and Chennai are difficult to predict against as they are really impressive while Punjab with their home support will be a tough nut to crack.

Rajasthan play the first half of their home games at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad. This stadium saw Sunil Gavaskar score his 10,000th test run and Kapil Dev conquer Sir Richard Hadlee’s 432 wicket haul in test cricket. The other share of home games will be hosted by Sawai Mansingh Stadium where Rajasthan Royals are undefeated. The Jaipur based Stadium is a fortress in its own right and the Royals will be pleased to return to the ground.


Schedule in Jaipur/ Ahmedabad

Mon March 15thvs. Delhi Daredevils, 8 pm
Sat March 20th vs. Kolkata Knight Riders, 4 pm
Fri March 26th vs. Deccan Chargers, 8 pm
Sun March 28th vs. Chennai Super Kings, 8 pm
Wed April 7th vs. Kings XI Punjab, 4 pm
Sun April 11th vs. Mumbai Indians, 8 pm
Wed April 14th vs. Royal Challengers Bangalore, 8 pm

Schedule away from Jaipur/Ahmedabad

Sat March 13th vs. Mumbai Indians, 3 pm
Thu March 18th vs. Royal Challengers Bangalore, 8 pm
Wed March 24th vs. Kings XI Punjab, 8 pm
Wed March 31st vs. Delhi Daredevils, 8 pm
Sat April 3rd vs. Chennai Super Kings, 4 pm
Mon April 5th vs. Deccan Chargers, 8 pm
Sat April 17th vs. Kolkata Knight Riders, 8 pm

March 9, 2010 Posted by | IPL, IPL 2010, Rajasthan Royals, Team Preview | Leave a comment

>IPL 2010 Team Preview: Royal Challengers Bangalore


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The Royal Challengers of Bangalore start IPL 2010 with what is arguably their strongest team till date, and will want to go one further than their creditable 2009 result, where they ended as the losing finalists. Along with title winners Deccan Chargers, they scripted a remarkable turnaround from the bottom of the pile in the first edition to the finals of the second.

The Challengers copped a huge amount of flak in the inaugural year for fielding a ‘test match’ side in a Twenty20 tournament, what with test specialists like Rahul Dravid, Wasim Jaffer and Jacques Kallis playing in their ranks. After a 140-run drubbing at the hands of a rampaging Brendon McCullum in the first ever IPL match, they failed to recover and slid right to the bottom and stayed there throughout, with only Deccan below them. However, the ‘King of Good Times’, Vijay Mallya has a compulsive hatred for defeat, and that showed in the signing of English megastar Kevin Pietersen, for a record $1.55 million, and maverick Kiwi Jesse Ryder. Though Pietersen failed, the Challengers collectively came good under the inspiring captaincy of the charismatic Anil Kumble in the Rainbow Nation, thanks to strong performances by the Indian players as well as the string of South Africans they fielded, and eventually fell an agonizing 6 runs short of the title.

This year, they are, if possible, still stronger than last year, with the addition of Irish-born Englishman Eoin Morgan in the player auction for $220,000, who has been a very strong performer for England as a dashing middle-order southpaw. They have also signed young Aussie allrounder Steven Smith, who is rising through the ranks of Australian cricket after an impressive showing for New South Wales in the Champions League T20 that they won.

One must say, after the debacle of the opening season, the Challengers’ batting has grown stronger and stronger and is now on par with the best in the competition. In Kevin Pietersen, they have a man who has the potential to be a legend, and is obstructed only by his bullheadedness. After failing with the bat last season and drawing criticism for his uninspiring and unimaginative captaincy in his short stint at the helm, he will be keen to set things right and justify his hefty paycheck. Pietersen will miss atleast the opening five games of the season while he is on national duty in Bangladesh. He will be backed up by fellow Englishman Eoin Morgan, whose inventive strokeplay will surely be a crowd favourite at the Chinnaswamy stadium.

Ross Taylor is a very dangerous customer, as he proved last season, and his manic 81 off a mere 33 balls against the hapless Knight Riders stands out as testimony of his clean slogging across the line. He will, however, miss out on the first half of the tournament as he will turn out for the Kiwis against Australia, and might be available only on or after the 31st of March when Bangalore play Chennai, when he could straightaway walk into the side on reputation. Compatriot Jesse Ryder will be sorely missed this season, as he can be as explosive as anyone on his day.

Jacques Kallis will once more be integral to the Challengers’ and along with Dravid, will be the go-to man in rescue situations for skipper Kumble. He was the top scorer for RCB last season with 361 runs. However, he may miss out on a berth in the playing XI if both Taylor and Pietersen are fit and in form. Custodian Mark Boucher will also probably play all throughout the tournament, unless the thinktank entrusts the gloves to young Sreevats Goswami and play an extra batsman.

With already so many fantastic overseas batting options, the Challengers’ are spoilt for choice and there is one other still to be mentioned. Aussie Cameron ‘Bear’ White is a monstrous hitter of the cricket ball, and he is in fearsome form after his exploits in the recent tied Twenty20 game against the New Zealanders.

Coming to the local talent, there is no dearth of it either. Led by Rahul Dravid, the lineup is an impressive read, comprising Virat Kohli, Manish Pandey, Robin Uthappa and Wasim Jaffer. There is no denying the immense talent Kohli and Pandey possess, and the pair will surely one day form the backbone of the Indian side, after winning the under-19 World Cup together. Kohli has proved his mettle in ODIs for India and is but a step away from a permanent place in the national side, while Pandey was the find of the season last time as he hit the first and only hundred by an Indian in the IPL, and topped the average charts of RCB with a mighty 84, and also had the best strike rate of 142. Besides, both youngsters have impeccable domestic first-class records apart from being livewire fielders.

Robin Uthappa may have mellowed since his berserk-hitting beginnings, and his stock may have dipped, but there is no denying his capabilities in the shortest format, and his form at the top of the innings, or as a lower-order finisher will go a very long way in deciding how things go for Bangalore.

The ever dependable Wasim Jaffer might just lose out on a spot in the side to these effervescent youngsters, though he remains the first-choice Indian backup.

The bowling front is led by veteran captain Anil Kumble, who was instrumental to their success last season as he finished way on top of the wickets tally with 21 wickets, just 2 short of purple cap holder RP Singh. He even had the third-best economy rate, a mighty impressive 5.86. He was behind tweakers Muralitharan and Harbhajan in this table, and this reiterates the value good-quality spin bowling has in choking the runrates in this format. This time as well we can expect an equally stellar performance from the legend, on the spin-friendly tracks of India.

Roelof van der Merwe is sure to get the nod as the second spinner after a decent showing last year, and he is more than capable of giving the ball a hard hit. He may, however, sit out if the Challengers’ decide to go batting-heavy and entrust spin duties to White. Steven Smith is another option, but he will get his chance only if one of the A-listers are injured.

The world’s No.1 test bowler Dale Steyn will be raring to go with the new ball, and that should be enough to give nightmares to opening batsmen. His fierce pace and deadly accuracy make him a certainty in the side, and a crucial cog in the Bangalore wheel. Compatriot Dillon D=du Preez is a handy backup if Steyn is unavailable.

Praveen Kumar will be leading the Indian pace attack, and Abhimanyu Mithun, who made his international debut after a fantastic domestic season, will probably partner him. Tall and strapping Pankaj Singh and Vinay Kumar will warm the benches until the first choice pacers fail.

Besides, the medium pace of Jacques Kallis is a useful bonus and a more-than-handy variation that can be put to intelligent use by Kumble.

Squad of 23:

Batsmen: Virat Kohli, Robin Uthappa, Rahul Dravid, Sridharan Sriram, Ross Taylor, Kevin Pietersen, Manish Pandey, Eoin Morgan.

All Rounders: Jacques Kallis, Roelof van der Merwe, Cameron White, Balachandra Akhil, Steven Smith, Mark Boucher (wk), Sreevats Goswami (wk).

Bowlers: Anil Kumble (Captain), Praveen Kumar, Dale Steyn, Vinay Kumar, KP Apanna, Ahimanyu Mithun, Bhuvanesh Kumar, Dillon du Preez.

Support Staff: Head Coach – Ray Jennings, Assistant Coach – Vijay Bharadwaj, Physiotherapist – Bharatesh SP

Likely Staring XI: Jacques Kallis, Manish Pandey, Rahul Dravid, Eoin Morgan, Virat Kohli, Mark Boucher(wk), Robin Uthappa, Praveen Kumar, Anil Kumble(capt), Dale Steyn, Abhimanyu Mithun

Players to watch:

Virat Kohli: The stylish, young righthander is a class act and has been earmarked by Coach Ray Jennings as a future Royal Challengers Bangalore and India captain. With great things expected from him, he will feel the pressure to perform, and opposition teams must watch out for this young turk, who has all the shots in the book and the audacity to play them with success. Once considered brash and arrogant, he has matured a lot in very quick time, and with the World T20 coming up, he would want to underline his credentials as a dashing middle-order bat.

Eoin Morgan: Another youngster with a truckload of talent. He has shown his explosive batting on numerous occasions for Ireland and more recently England, and will be itching to showcase it in the cash-rich IPL. All he needs is a chance to play in the XI, which he is likely to get with Pietersen touring in Bangladesh with the Test squad.

Cameron White (Dark Horse): When it comes to clean ball-hitting, White ranks among the best in the world, right up there with Kieron Pollard and Yusuf Pathan. He has immensely powerful arms that are capable of clearing any stadium in the world. He targets the traditional V behind the bowler, unlike some others who have recently inverted the field to open up a scoring option in the V behind the keeper. His bludgeoned hits down the ground are vicious and bowlers and umpires are in mortal danger when he is on song. Thankfully the non-striker at least wears pads and a helmet!


Bangalore open their campaign away to the Kolkata Knight Riders on the 14th of March. After losing both games to Kolkata in the inaugural season they won both in the second. They should be confident of beating a Kolkata side that will be missing key players to international commitments, and get their campaign off to a winning start.

This is followed by home games against Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals. Both the Kings and the Royals boast of 3-1 head-to-head records against RCB, but Bangalore are the stronger side on paper this time and in home conditions the stage is set for two riveting contests. RCB then travel to Mumbai for what promises to be another close contest between two evenly matched sides that stand at 2 wins apiece.

The next two games will probably decide which way the campaign heads for the Challengers. Delhi and Chennai, arguably the strongest teams in the competition, tour Bangalore and winning against them will be a daunting prospect, even with the home advantage. RCB then travel to Chennai for another grueling game, and this concludes the first half of a rather lopsided schedule.

RCB will be happy with 4 wins at this stage to keep the semifinals hopes alive, and the return of Ross Taylor will be both a morale booster and a strong addition to the XI. They will look to continue to hunt the weaker sides in the second leg as well, and pull a few upsets as well, with Taylor back. More importantly, they would be keen to generate a winning momentum going into the semifinals, as being in the middle of a winning streak is a huge confidence booster when approaching the knockout stages of the competition.

Home ground:

The M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru will play host to all the home games of the Challengers. The Stadium that seats 40,000 is an ideal place for a carnival atmosphere that the IPL never fails to generate. Vijay Mallya’s flamboyance has also give the Challengers a most beautiful bevy of cheerleaders, and that coupled with the passionate home crowd should ideally be a great motivation to the players. Sadly, they have thus far won just a single game at home and have lost as many as 6. But this may be attributed to their overall pathetic performance in the first season and this is a brilliant opportunity to set things right and give their fans their money’s worth.

Will the Challengers go one further than last time and win the coveted trophy this time round? Well, they certainly have the team to do so, but will need to hold their nerve in close finishes. Both their batting and bowling units are versatile, well-rounded and their depth is something most teams would crave. In fact, they are one of the most balanced sides in the tournament. What they need to guard against is that lackadaisical attitude and the lack of killer instinct they had in the first season, and it is the role of the captain that is of paramount importance in avoiding this. Anil Kumble certainly has the persona and experience to hold the team together and keep spirits lifted, and he also needs to ensure the team gets out of a rut following defeat, as losses in the shortest format have a snowballing effect.


Home Games:

March 16, Tuesday vs Kings XI Punjab, 4 pm
March 18, Thursday vs Rajasthan Royals, 8 pm
March 23, Tuesday vs Chennai SuperKings, 8 pm
March 27, Saturday vs Delhi Daredevils, 8 pm
April 8, Thursday vs Deccan Chargers, 8 pm
April 10, Saturday vs Kolkata Knight Riders, 8pm
April 17, Saturday vs Mumbai Indians, 4 pm

Away Games:

March 14, Sunday vs Kolkata Knight Riders (Kolkata), 4 pm
March 20, Saturday vs Mumbai Indians (Mumbai), 8 pm
March 31, Wednesday vs Chennai SuperKings (Chennai), 4 pm
April 2, Friday vs Kings XI Punjab (Mohali), 8 pm
April 4, Sunday vs Delhi Daredevils (Delhi), 8 pm
April 12, Monday vs Deccan Chargers (Nagpur), 8 pm
April 14, Wednesday vs Rajasthan Royals (Jaipur), 8 pm

March 9, 2010 Posted by | Indian Premier League, IPL, IPL 2010, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Team Preview | Leave a comment

>IPL 2009 – the key figures

>IPL 2009 – the key figures

Final position: Semi-finalists
Top-scorer: Hayden with 572 runs at 52.00
Top wicket-taker: Muralitharan with 14 wickets at 18.64
Best result: 92-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore
Worst result: Six-wicket defeat in the semis to Bangalore
Highest team score: 188 for 3 v Kolkata Knight Riders
Lowest team score: 129 v Bangalore

March 9, 2010 Posted by | Indian Premier League, IPL, IPL 2009 | Leave a comment

>Injury-hit Chennai face tougher IPL


Chennai Super Kings

Muttiah Muralitharan
spills a catch, Bangalore Royal Challengers v Chennai Super Kings, IPL, second semi-final, Johannesburg, May 23, 2009
Muttiah Muralitharan’s bowling form could be the key to Chennai’s success © Associated Press

They are the IPL’s ‘nearly men’, coming close to the summit in the first and second season, only to falter in the knock-out stages. However, Chennai Super Kings will begin the 2010 tournament on the back foot. Two key allrounders, Andrew Flintoff and Jacob Oram, are missing in action because of injury, though Oram may play later in the season. Two other overseas players, Muttiah Muralitharan and Makhaya Ntini, are on the wane and that puts a lot of pressure on the captain MS Dhoni.

Flintoff’s absence ought to have led to a big signing at the 2010 player auction but there were no major purchases. They bid aggressively for Kieron Pollard, Shane Bond and Kemar Roach, and also tried for Eoin Morgan, but lost all of them to other franchises. They ultimately settled for South African allrounder and ICL returnee Justin Kemp and Sri Lankan allrounder Thissaara Perera. With no apparent world-beaters in the bowling department, Chennai will bank on their batsmen to carry them through again.

The buzz

Unlike teams such as Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals, Chennai’s build-up has been relatively low profile and they prefer it that way. Last month, they announced a five-year deal with a merchandising company to reach out to the fans. In fact, the team has been rated as the “most valuable” in this year’s IPL with a brand value of $48.4 million, according to a study conducted by the UK-based Brand Finance.

On the cricketing front, the team began training on March 8, now with the arrival of coach Stephen Fleming. With South Zone out of the Deodhar Trophy, the local players will be available for the training camp.

New faces

Perera, a left-hand batsman who bowls nippy right-arm medium pace, recently won a match for Sri Lanka against India in a tri-series in Bangladesh. The IPL scouts were taking notes. Kemp and Albie Morkel will compete to fill the void left by Flintoff and Jacob Oram.

Missing in action

The high-profile Flintoff unfortunately hit his umpteenth injury crisis and will be out of competitive cricket till July. The team was further jolted by news that Oram will be out of action for a month due to a patella tendon tear. There’s speculation that he too may miss the entire tournament. VB Chandrasekar, the team’s director of cricketing operations, said contingency plans for Oram would be discussed in the coming days. Michael Hussey has Australia commitments till the end of this month, by which time the tournament’s first fortnight would have ended.


Undoubtedly the batting. Hayden, Suresh Raina and Dhoni were Chennai’s top three run-getters last year, giving the team good starts. They will be a handful to contain on Indian pitches.


The lower order hasn’t been tested enough – the flipside of having a power-packed top order. Muralitharan has struggled for form with Sri Lanka but he will be expected to carry this attack.

X Factor

Ignored by his country due to recent indifferent form, fuelled by mass speculation of imminent retirement, Ntini will use this IPL as a platform to show that he still belongs. Unlike Matthew Hayden, his selection isn’t guaranteed but Chennai will need his experience to shore up the bowling attack.

Read Original StoryInjury-hit Chennai face tougher IPL

March 9, 2010 Posted by | Chennai Super Kings, Cricket News, IPL, IPL News | Leave a comment