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MI coach admits a plethora of stars makes selection job tough
By IPL Staff
Chennai 05 April 2013
John Wright’s homecoming to India didn’t begin on a merry note as the Mumbai Indians went down by two runs against a Gayle-powered Royal Challengers Bangalore outfit in their first game. But the coach knows much better than to read too much into that loss.
Wright knows he has an incredible amount of class at his disposal in all departments, especially so when it comes to the leadership group. “We want to work as a team’ and we’ve each got specific roles,” Wright said of MI’s team management that includes himself, mentor Anil Kumble, captain Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar.
“Anil brings great knowledge of Indian conditions and IPL in general because he’s been part of it right since its inception. That’s a huge help. Ricky and Sachin have huge leadership qualities which the players benefit from during net practice and both on and off the field. I am there to organise the practice sessions and helping the players off the field in whatever way they need me to.
“I think IPL is a very challenging environment to coach in because it’s a very fast moving tournament. Having such experienced leadership group around them helps the young players not only to perform in the IPL but in their overall development as well.
Besides its second to none core leadership group, the most exciting feature of MI in IPL 2013 is the opening pair of Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting. The top two run-getters in the history of Test cricket became batting partners for the first time in their careers during MI’s first game of the season. Wright termed it as a “unique feature of the IPL”.
“It’s great for the competition and it’s a unique feature of the IPL where you have the likes of Sachin and Ponting batting together. That’s why the tournament excites the fans. They too are finding it exciting to bat together, something they probably have never done before. It’s also such a unique learning opportunity for the youngsters in our team,” Wright said, while confirming that MI will stick to the Tendulkar-Ponting opening pair for the next few games of the tournament.
“We feel that Ponting and Sachin opening for us is currently the right thing and we’ve talked about it in the team. We definitely have high-skilled batsmen who can rotate the strike. But if we can combine that skill with a couple of power-hitters, we’re going to be a stronger unit,” Wright said. One way of maintaining the fire-and-ice combination at the top that Wright spoke about is to promote Kieron Pollard higher than his usual No.6 position. The coach admitted the big West Indian could’ve taken MI to a win against RCB had he been given a few more balls to face. “It’s just the way it turned out; I suppose in retrospect he could’ve gone in earlier,” he said.
Like most things in life, having a star-studded squad too has it flip side, as Wright is experiencing with the Mumbai Indians. “It is difficult. Sometimes, you’re too spoilt for choice and everyone wants to play. This is probably the toughest team I’m coaching when it comes to selecting the final XI because we have a number of high-class players and they all are very keen to play.
“We’re looking at our combinations. The great thing about our side is that we’ve got a lot of flexibility since we’ve got players that can play in any position. I know most batsmen like to bat at the top in T20 cricket but some of the more difficult positions are 5, 6, 7. It’s an important task for the team management to indentify the talent and give players roles according to that,” Wright said.
While talking about the star, the coach didn’t forget the young kid on the block who he discovered from the land of Gujarat.
“We’re really happy with Jasprit’s (BUmrah) debut. I saw him bowl in a domestic T20 in Ahmedabad and he caught the eye. We talked to some of the people who’ve seen him closely and decided to pick him. He’s got an interesting action and he’s also got some pace. He will add a bit of variation in our attack. To be able to perform the way he did in his first big match in front of a huge crowd, it was a very encouraging start,” Wright said.
Royals’ Rahane, Faulkner looks forward to IPL 2013
By IPL Staff
Delhi 05 April 2013
Young and aspiring youngsters in their respective national sides, Ajinkya Rahane and James Faulkner are taking their first steps in the international circuit for India and Australia.
Rahane made people stand-up and take notice with his performance in the Indian Premier League in 2012 and Faulkner has made his presence felt in the shortest format of the game while playing in the Big Bash.
Both have also displayed their skills while playing on the domestic circuit of their home countries.
What they also have in common is, that both have had the opportunity to play under the leadership of Shane Warne. Rahane has already played under Rahul Dravid and Faulkner will have that honour when he turns out for the Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2013.
Rahane has always spoken reverently of the influence and guidance provided by Dravid and Faulkner too speaks highly of the support extended to him by Warne.
Discussing the contrasting captaincy styles of ‘The Wall’ and the spin wizard, Rahane observed, “They (Warne and Dravid) are both legends but are entirely different captains. Rahul bhai likes to keep things simple while leading the side while Warne was always trying various new things and was always experimenting.
“Both Rahul bhai and Shane have been equally approachable.”
“I am enjoying playing with Rahul Dravid. Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar are my role models since my childhood, so it is a dream to bat alongside Rahul bhai. It is a great learning experience. We all learn from him.
“He is simple and humble and still a student of the game. I learnt a lot from Shane Warne as well.”
Speaking about Warne, Faulkner Warne added, “He has been a massive support for my cricket over the last two years I have really got to know him. I have really got to know him off the field as well and he has left a legacy to be followed.
“With RR being his IPL team I glad I am here I am playing where he is used to play.”
“I haven’t actually spoken to him about RR but the advice that he has given to me is to always back myself and back my game and I have done that through the Big Bash under him. So I am looking forward to doing that here in India too.”
“I have had a couple of sessions now with Rahul (Dravid). He has been very positive for the team. And everyone has been positive so far as a group at training. Now it is a matter of putting games of cricket together as a team and winning games of cricket,” Faulkner mentioned.
Speaking about the Royals’, Rahane who was one of the star performers for the franchise in 2012 said, “I have lot of good memories of last season but as we know cricket is a funny game so I want to start this season from scratch.”
Faulkner too is looking forward to take the field for RR and agrees that they have got a very good squad.
“Few games last year were disappointing. We lost close games, especially against Delhi we lost by one run. We are learning from that (those mistakes). We also have Shane Watson for the whole season. We have a good side so we hope to do well,” Rahane added.
Speaking about the devastating effect that Shane Watson is known to have on the opposition, Faulkner said, “When Watson is both batting and bowling he is probably the best player in the world when it comes to the short format, at least that’s what the statistics show. He can break the game open with both the bat and ball. As a batter in T20 cricket he is one of the best going around. He has dominated and won matches for his country. And he has done that here in the IPL before”.
Faulkner who has come to India after playing in another twenty20 tournament, the Big Bash said, “The conditions are a lot different. Australia is where I am from so I am used to those conditions there. India is different when it comes to the weather, the pitches and how they play. But I think I have got the game to adapt to any sort of conditions around the world.”
“The quality of cricket in both – the IPL and the Big Bash is international (level). IPL has very high standards and I am really looking forward to IPL kicking off.”
“I have just finished my summer back in Australia so I am in reasonably good conditions at the moment. I came four-five days ago to adapt to the wickets over here. I have done really good in nets so far and I will have another one today and I look forward to it all starting,” the pacer added.
Discussing his own batting and adapting to different formats of the game, Rahane said, “As an international cricketer you have to adapt to different things. My main strength is that I like to learn new things every day. I just want to focus and stick to my game plan.”
On his style of playing in the ‘V’ which can fetch runs as much as any other innovative shot like a ‘dilscoop’ Rahane explained, "Every batsman has his own style. My style is to keep things simple. My idols are Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid. Both play cricketing shots and are successful in T20 format as well. So I would like to keep it very simple and stick to my game plan. You need to adapt to all these situations. It is about the mind set. Adjustments are important and how you approach the game is important."
“Once you get a taste of international cricket, it is like a bug so you want to keep playing and performing as well as you can for your country. And it’s the same when it comes to the IPL. Anywhere that I play, I think I want to achieve my goals and play as well as I can for that team. It’s is no different for Rajasthan Royals and I am looking forward to it,” Faulkner said.
On the batsman he looks forward to bowl to, the tall Australian pacer said, “Definitely Chris Gayle. I have got a little bit of rivalry with him now if I get the option to bowl at him again I sure he will try to hit me out of the ground and I will try to get him out so I am sure it will be good for all the spectators.”