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Anand Subramaniam in Mumbai 28 April 2013 - 07:09pm IST

Lehmann wants overseas players to contribute

Kings XI coach feels it allows for domestic players to play freely

Kings XI Punjab are coming off a six wicket loss against KKR and on Monday they face Mumbai Indians, a team high on confidence after their thumping victory against RCB on Saturday. Mumbai Indians’ batting came good, their bowlers backed them and on the back of that performance, it will be an uphill task for Kings XI to get the better of MI. Kings XI coach Darren Lehmann is wary of the challenge ahead.

“Mumbai Indians are a quality side and they have played really well in the tournament so far. We have to be at the top of our game to beat them and we have to have some good man-of-the-match performances.”

Feeling that the wicket at the Wankhede will assist his team’s bowling, their strength, Lehmann said, “We saw the MI-RCB game and felt it was a good T20 wicket. Obviously it has a lot of bounce and carry in it. MI are a dangerous side to play at home and we will have to bowl well against them. Our strength is our bowling, so I expect us to bowl well.”

The bowling might be their plus point, but batting is still a cause for concern according to Lehmann who said, “Our batting has been a bit of a worry. But I have been impressed with the batting in the last few games. We played well against KKR in the previous game and got to 149 which we felt was defendable on that surface.”

Also, their captain has barely got going this season and there have been just a few standout performances in the batting line-up that has helped the Kings XI post good totals on board. Will we see Adam Gilchrist doing a Ricky Ponting by resting himself?

“Look, Gilchrist would like to get some runs under his belt, just like we all would like to. Gilly knows he has to make some runs, be it this game or the next game or the game after. Gilly has to come good soon. When a player is not scoring well, he is under scrutiny and it will be no different in Gilly’s case. We will sit down and see if he is a part of our selection plans.”

Lehmann had words of praise for the domestic talent who have time and again performed for the side. Be it chasing totals or scoring at a brisk rate, the likes of Mandeep Singh, Manan Vohra have stood up to the occasion. It is only fair that the coach wants his overseas players to step up their game.

“I am impressed with the domestic talent. We have to harness our talent and it is our motive to make the local talent play to their best as much as they can. We have seen a lot of young players in the side who have done well for us. For example; Manan Vohra has been impressive in the opportunities he has got and we are exposing him to the big stage. I feel the overseas players need to make more contributions to make the job of the domestic players easier. This will be a good batting track and we expect our batsmen to play with a lot of freedom.”

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