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RCB off-spinner says his team needs to move on after CSK loss
By IPL Staff
Bengaluru 14 April 2012
In the three matches he has played so far in IPL 2012, Muttiah Muralitharan has picked up eight wickets at an economy-rate of 6.41. The wily old Sri Lankan off-spinner has shown that he still has the ability to win matches for his team. His brilliant return catch in the last match against the Chennai Super Kings showed that his reflexes are still as sharp as ever. But the highest wicket-taker in international cricket is not taking anything for granted, especially his place in the playing 11 of the strong Royal Challengers Bangalore team.
Ahead of RCB’s home game against the Rajasthan Royals, Muralitharan spoke to the media on various issues, including his performance and his team’s composition. Excerpts:
On the last-over loss against CSK in the previous match
Every team plays 16 games and no one wins all of them. Whoever has better momentum, will qualify for top-four. All we need to do is forget the last match and look ahead and prepare for the coming games.
On whether he expected to be in the playing 11 in all matches right from the beginning
I didn’t expect to play from game one itself because RCB were a settled team from the last season, when they finished as the runners-up. But the opportunity was created for me because [Tillakaratne] Dilshan was playing Test cricket and [Chris] Gayle got injured. I grabbed it with both hands. I’ll keep fighting for my place because there’s no guarantee of being in the playing 11. I’ll have to keep on performing.
On whether the lack of a fifth bowler is hurting RCB
You can’t have specialist fifth and sixth bowlers because you also need to balance the side. In the last game, we had some injuries in our team and couldn’t play a certain bowlers. But once Gayle starts bowling, we’ll have more options in our bowling. On Chris Gayle’s fitness
Gayle is 100 percent fit. He was cramping in the last game because of the Chennai heat, and we didn’t want to risk him with bowling. Also, he’s just recovered from a groin injury, and hence we want to be completely sure before thrusting him into bowling. On whether different amount of money paid to everyone plays on the players’ mind
Once you step on the field, money doesn’t matter. A player’s value is not decided by the money he’s paid, but the way he performs on the field. Franchise owners have different ideas and strategies to buy players and they pay them accordingly. If a world-class player goes for USD 100,000, it doesn’t mean that is his value. It’s just that the franchise thinks that’s what he is worth in the T20 format. Nobody gets disheartened because of that. When we step on the field, every player just wants to win it for RCB.
On playing cricket after international retirement
I feel I could have played international cricket for a few more years. But then, I thought I have achieved enough and it would be wise to retire when on top, after the 2011 World Cup. But I’ve been playing T20 cricket in various countries, and will continue to do so. I’m getting the opportunities now, and I want to make the most of them. I don’t want to regret in the future that I could’ve played a bit longer.
Kings XI Punjab captain says his team is relaxed, but enthusiastic
By IPL Staff
Kolkata 14 April 2012
Winners of their last outing against the Pune Warriors India, Kings XI Punjab are in Kolkata to take on Gautam Gambhir’s Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens tomorrow. The team had a practice session beginning at 4 pm to adjust to the conditions in Kolkata ahead of their game against KKR. KXIP captain and coach, Adam Gilchrist interacted with the media before the practice session.
On being the captain and coach of the side
It’s great. It’s not a big difference to anything I’ve done before. It’s a little more organisational stuff, but I’ve always tried to be involved as captain of a franchise and work closely with the coaching staff. And we’ve got a good coaching staff, a good management staff. I’m part of that group, and its coming together well.
On KXIP all-rounder Harmeet Singh
He is an example of a guy who, for whatever reason, hasn’t featured prominently in domestic cricket. But the opportunity here in the IPL a few years ago was the one that he took with both hands. He is a hard worker. He is a terrific young man. I’m just trying to create the environment that he is comfortable to be a part of and that he knows the specific role that he has got. It’s about communication. And he is just an example of the opportunity the IPL provides to many younger players. On whether he has had a look at the wicket
No. Not yet. I’ll get out there and have a look at it for sure.
On KXIP’s performance this in IPL 2012 till now – one win from three games
It’s a very similar record to a lot of teams in the competition. I don’t see any team that is unbeatable. Everyone on a given day can beat any other team. We are really pleased with the way we are travelling. Even in the losses, there were some positive signs. As far as our team environment [is concerned], it’s a really terrific bunch of guys. We don’t feel like we have any super, megastars who bring in any big egos. I’m not insinuating that anyone else has that, but we certainly feel like a team who can fly under the radar a bit. We are a relaxed, but enthusiastic group.
On whether KXIP’s Australian batsmen will be able to adjust to the slow, turning track at the Eden Gardens
I don’t think you can compare any wicket here to the wickets that we play on in Australia by way of pace and bounce. Any time we play here, we have to make adjustments to what we are used to at home. Shaun Marsh’s record in the IPL is second to none, so he has shown that he can play in the many varied conditions around the IPL. David Hussey has performed recently in the West Indies, which have slow wickets. You need to make appropriate adjustments and you’d like to think that guys at this level are aware of that.
On the dangerous players in KKR
All of them [are dangerous]. I don’t mean that as a flippant comment. They’re all very dangerous players; as simple as that. They’ve got big names and they have names that aren’t as big but have already contributed. Every player right through their list can do a terrific job. So often in T20 it’s an individual performance that can set the game up and so they are all dangerous. On whether KXIP will go for an extra spinner
I’ve got to have a look at the wicket. I don’t know if it’s the same wicket that was used last night. But obviously, conditions here are more conducive to spin bowling. We feel like if that’s the way we want to go, we’ve got adequate personnel to come in. That’s an option for sure. On Paul Valthaty’s disappointing form early in the competition
Everyone’s been in this situation in their career. He’s only had three innings – one I ran him out, that’s not his fault and he got a pretty good delivery the other night [against PWI]. When things are not going your way, it’s over before it begins. We’re just trying to keep him positive, keep backing him. But he knows the reality of it – it’s high intensity and everyone is looking for results. We’re trying to encourage him that the training he is doing is similar to the training he was doing last year. You don’t lose your talent or your skills but you just have to trust in what you are doing.