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PWI skipper plays down talks of his team being favourites against RCB
By IPL Staff
Bengaluru 16 April 2012
They say a good captain can make an ordinary team look unbeatable. While the Pune Warriors India are, by no means, pushovers, they did struggle to find their feet in IPL 2011. However, this year has been different, at least so far. Out of four, PWI have won three matches, and Sourav Ganguly deserves a lot of credit for instilling belief in the team.
The Warriors’ fifth encounter is an away game against the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Ahead of the contest, their skipper looked relaxed and cheerful as he addressed the media. “We’ve played well – won three games out of four and have defeated two top teams in CSK and MI,” Ganguly said, simultaneously guarding against any complacency by adding, “It’s still early days in the tournament, and in this format things change very quickly.”
The skipper attributed his team’s successful start in the tournament to some fine performances from his bowlers. “The bowlers have done very well – in all our four games we didn’t let the opposition get past 160 on good batting surfaces. That shows that our bowling is at the top,” he said. While the team has done well, the form of Indian batmen hasn’t been top-class so far. Robin Uthappa has done little besides a 33-ball 40 against KXIP at home. Manish Pandey has looked out of sorts.
However, true to his belief of backing and defending his players to the hilt, the skipper said, “I think Robin’s done very well. Scoring 40-odd runs is very good in T20 cricket. Don’t compare it with Test cricket. Getting 70s consistently is tough in this format.”
Ganguly himself has failed to convert handsome starts into a significant score, and he feels a good score is around the corner. “There are a few of us who’re getting quick 20s and 25s. But in this format, you’ve got to keep playing your shots. I’ve been hitting the ball well,” he said. Known as one of the best captains, not only in India but the world over, Ganguly feels captaining in the Twenty20 format is not too different from getting the job done in Tests and one-day matches.
“T20 is not as fast as people think it to be. Only the duration is shorter. I’ve enjoyed it, and you enjoy more when your team wins. “As a captain, you need to think ahead, in terms of your batting line-up, deciding who your death bowlers are going to be and such stuff. But that you have to do in every format,” Ganguly said.
Talking about the team composition for their game against RCB, Ganguly hinted at going with the winning combination. He also predicted a high-scoring contest after having a look at the Chinnaswami track. “Wicket looks good for batting. [Rajasthan Royals] got 195 in the last match. We’ll [be] playing on the same surface and I don’t think it will change much,” Ganguly conceded.
The hosts, RCB are down after losing three of their four games so far. But Ganguly doesn’t see that as an advantage for his team going into the game. “I don’t think in this format anyone is favourite. RCB has got terrific players, and hopefully, they don’t fire tomorrow as well,” the skipper said jokingly.
DC skipper feels forced break could work as a tonic
By IPL Staff
Jaipur 16 April 2012
Deccan Chargers will be put to the test as they face table-toppers Rajasthan Royals at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium. Having arrived in Jaipur ahead of the buoyant hosts, DC have been practicing under the guidance of Darren Lehman since yesterday.
Addressing the media ahead of the training session today, Sangakkara spoke about his team’s composition and strategy as they take on RR who’ve won both home games so far and tamed Royal Challengers Bangalore in the latter’s home. Excerpts from the press conference:
On DC’s two previous matches
We had two interesting games. One I watched from Sri Lanka and the next one, against Mumbai [Indians], I arrived [for]. [We faced] two big teams first up. I thought that the Mumbai [Indians] game was a great game for both sides. We nearly had [it in control, but we just] couldn’t get it done. That was a shame because [a win] would have meant that we would be 1-1 [one win and one loss] going into a break. Breaks can work in two ways; five days is a really long time in IPL because you watch other teams play cricket all the time. We have prepared well; we just need to ensure that we have done our homework and our preparation is right and [that we have] covered all our bases and we are up for the game tomorrow. On the team
I thought there were a few kinks in our first two games especially with a few overs in the bowling in the Chennai [Super Kings] game. We faltered a bit in the chase. In the Mumbai Indians game we probably fell fifteen runs short but having said that, we got ourselves into a great winning position against MI. It shows [that] the boys can fight. It shows that we have the strength to win games and the belief to do it; we just need to close games. We have a very good side, a very competitive side. And that’s what we need to do in the tournament – compete with every side we play. On the special strategy for RR given the way Ajinkya Rahane batted yesterday
It is hard to have special strategies for each player. We have a very solid basic bowling strategy. We could tinker with it [based on] Ajinkya Rahane or Rahul Dravid or someone like Owais Shah or someone in the Rajasthan Royals [being] weak [in certain areas]. We try and bowl in those [weak] areas [and] try and set fields for that. That’s what we do in all forms of cricket; we try and challenge the batsmen to try and make mistakes so it is a case of either us winning the challenge or the batsmen winning it. On some days the batsmen will win and some days, the bowling side will. I think we have got the bowling strength to challenge all the sides in the IPL and that’s what we will try to do with Ajinkya Rahane or anyone else in the Rajasthan [Royals] side; [we’ll] just to make sure we bowl well.
On whether the team was well balanced
Our balance is very good. We have some very good overseas players and a great all-rounder in Daniel Christian. We have got very good local players; we have got Amit Mishra – who is a fantastic leg-spinner, we have Ankit Sharma – who is a left-arm spinner, we have [Manpreet] Gony, Anand Rajan, Bharat Chipli, Ravi Teja , and [Abhishek] Jhunjhunwala. All these guys may not be the biggest names in local cricket [but they are good players]. We are lucky to get Parthiv Patel through the auction this time so we have got a great mix of Indian players and overseas players. We just need to keep believing that we are a good side that can win games and that’s what we are trying to do; play as a collective with everyone chipping in. On whether there was pressure on DC considering they had lost both their previous games
I think it is two things; there is always pressure in the IPL because every team is here to win and that’s an expectation that goes [with the turf] for everyone, not just for DC. [You are] motivated every game to show that you are the best there is and that you deserve to be here in the IPL playing for a franchise. You need to handle the pressure. I think we are mature enough and we have played enough cricket to handle pressure so we just need to ensure that we keep battling and keep fighting. On having played only two games while some teams have played five
[...] First [we need] to start off and then see from there – it’s nice to get into a rhythm. The Mumbai [Indians] game was great and we might have kicked on from there to achieve a couple of wins, but then we have had a break. Two losses and a break might have been good for us so you will have to wait and see how we come to terms with that break and get back fresh into the competition against a side that is playing very well. On whether DC would play an unchanged side and whether any of the players were suffering from niggles Few people do have niggles; that’s a normal thing in cricket. Depends on when players are selected and when they are selected whether they can play through those niggles. The team composition will depend on the opposition we play and the wickets we play on – that will be discussed today in the team meeting and by tonight we will have a team ready. Everyone wants to play; everyone is ready [....]
On whether high-scoring games and tight finishes are becoming a trend in the IPL
It is the fifth edition of the IPL. Payers are learning a lot, especially about Indian conditions, Indian wickets and also about the players that they are playing against and with. All of this will contribute to tighter finishes, lower scores being defended; the wickets [also] play a big part. If they are low and slow then you find the scores are not as high and you will have a very interesting game. There is a lot in it for the faster bowlers. You might find the games going a different way, but if it’s just a good, flat wicket, then sides with the best batting strength will try and dominate. It will be interesting to see how the bowlers come up with different plans for those wickets. I think it has been a very interesting series so far; let’s hope it just keeps getting better. On whether he would assume the keeper’s role in the next game
I play as [a keeper-batsman] for Sri Lanka. Here it just depends on how we want to see Parthiv in the side; wicketkeeping duties may have to be shared depending on how comfortable he is. I have probably done a lot more fielding in my time than he has. I started off as a keeper, then fielded for quite a long time. Both of us love keeping so it will just depend on how we want it in each game.