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IPL Staff in Jaipur 05 April 2012 - 09:19pm IST

Our team is well-balanced: Gilchrist

KXIP skipper happy with squad ahead of season opener

After a late-afternoon training session at the Rajasthan Cricket Association’s academy ground, Adam Gilchrist addressed the media before heading off to practice under lights at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium here. Ahead of their tournament opener, the Kings XI Punjab captain- coach said that although the Rajasthan Royals will have a different feel in the absence of Shane Warne, the Rahul Dravid-led team is a formidable opposition.

Excerpts from Gilchrist’s media interaction:


On the players brought into KXIP this year


As for as the auction goes, it was there for everyone to see that when the big bidding started for what may be known as the bigger name players, we weren’t in there with the bidding. [...] We just tried to bolster the overall balance of the squad. We have got two world-class fast bowlers in Stuart Broad and Ryan Harris in our squad. As [for] international [players] we have Praveen Kumar, a world-class fast opening bowler. So we are pretty well-served in that area. We are very well-served with batting depth, particularly with our internationals, and [I am] very very happy with our Indian batting depth on the back of guys like Paul Valthaty [who performed well] last year, and I have got great confidence in Abhishek Nayar who is an experienced player. And we have got young talent, Mandeep Singh, Gurkeerat Singh, to name a few, and also Paras Dogra. So overall, in the outcome of the auction, we have got a well-balanced squad [...]. We have got a really good group of all-rounders like James Faulkner. We are happy with our batting depth as well, and the spin bowling options as well. [...]. There weren’t guys fetching USD 2 million and USD 1.3 million; we were more than happy to take on board the players that we were able to purchase.

On the fitness of the players

[...] Stuart Broad and Ryan Harris weren’t ever going to be available for the first two games. Subsequently, Stuart Broad has been injured and has gone home. We are monitoring that on a daily basis. He is pretty optimistic that he is going to take part in the tournament. So we need to just find out more from the English medical staff what they are going to allow him to do, and I will monitor that on a day-to-day basis. I wouldn’t expect we would see him at the moment for at least a week or two minimum. Other than that everyone is pretty fit.

On whether having beaten Rajasthan Royals last year helps going into tomorrow’s match


I guess a lot of teams do look to the previous year just to get an idea of more plans that they had on individuals. The result doesn’t factor into it too much given that it was in different conditions than what we are playing in tomorrow. Already there is a different make-up [composition] in different teams. There is definitely a different feel to Rajasthan Royals without Shane Warne around. There is no doubt about that. He was such a strong personality and such a strong leader [that] it will be different [this time]. I am not saying whether it will be better or worse. Rahul Dravid is a wonderful person and a fine cricketer, and I know he will be determined to lead well, but there will be a different feel and it will be a good challenge.

On the RR team


I wouldn’t say they are a bit weak. I think they are a lot like us. They probably had a bit more of a limited opportunity at the auction to purchase players and they have secured a group that they feel are going to do the job. All-round there are some great cricketers there [in RR]. It is Twenty20 cricket; nothing can be taken for granted. No team can be guaranteed to beat any other team. It [the match] is open on the day.

On the pitch

The pitch looks like a beautiful wicket. I haven’t been here since the first of year of IPL. In year two, we played in South Africa in the third year we played them in Ahmedabad. Last year we didn’t play them here, we played them at home. From what I have watched on television last year, it looks like it might have a little bit more grass, binding it all together. This looks like a nice wicket.

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