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Pepsi IPL 2014 declared open with a glittering ceremony
Cricketers and Bollywood stars regale the audience with their brilliance
By IPL Staff
Abu Dhabi 16 April 2014
The seventh season of Pepsi Indian Premier League was flagged off in Abu Dhabi with an opening event rich in cricketing pedigree as well as a generous dose of fun and frolic.
It began with a welcome note by H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mubarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Culture, Youth & Community Development, in which he spoke of the UAE’s determination as a nation to move forward in the sporting field.
Then it was time for host, Ravi Shastri to invite the eight IPL captains to vow their allegiance to maintain the integrity of cricket by signing the MCC Spirit of Cricket plaque.
Staying with the subject of cricket’s pride, Sunil Gavaskar, interim President, BCCI-IPL, delivered a passionate speech about how he and his colleagues at the BCCI intend to take every possible measure to eradicate the very shadow of corruption from the sport. Mr. Gavaskar appealed cricket fans all over the world to maintain their faith in cricket and believe in its sanctity.
After the serious business, it was time for some entertainment. There was a light and sound show which depicted traditions and cultures of the UAE and India and merged them together to bring out a seamless bond between the two nations.
Then it was the time for some Bollywood style masti as the gorgeous Indian actress, Deepika Padukone sizzled the stage with a sassy number that mesmerized the audience.
The last but by no means the least individual to take the stage was Shah Rukh Khan. The popular actor and the co-owner of the Kolkata Knight Riders had the audience in splits with a sense of humour appealing the masses. He invited cricketers on the stage – Shane Watson played the guitar and sang a song, Virat Kohli had banter with Khan and MS Dhoni regaled his fans with his boyish charm.
The glorious evening came to a glorious end with the most brilliant and beautiful fireworks that brightened the moods of the beholders, thereby declaring Pepsi IPL 2014 open.
KKR coach counts on his most experienced player to click; backs Yusuf Pathan
By IPL Staff
Abu Dhabi 15 April 2014
The Kolkata Knight Riders will begin their Pepsi IPL 2014 journey with a tough challenge against the defending champions, Mumbai Indians. On the eve of the match, KKR coach, Trevor Bayliss, discussed his key players and expressed pleasure at the number of options the management has to pick from, thanks to their well-balanced squad.
“We’re very happy with the squad that we have got. We have a number of different quality options depending on the opposition and the type of wicket we play on. All we need to think of is getting the combination right, and hopefully, the 11 guys we pick, play well on the day,” Bayliss said.
While KKR have always had a solid top order, manned by the likes of Gautam Gambhir and Jacques Kallis, their middle order has looked brittle in comparison. Bayliss said that the presence of a couple of new Indian recruits and familiar big hitters will solve that problem.
“We have Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey and also Shakib (Al Hasan). Yusuf Pathan is still with us. He has been doing well in the Indian domestic circuit, and if he can continue his form, it will be a huge boost for us,” the coach said.
When asked how difficult it is for the team management to keep backing a player like Yusuf, whose hot and cold form makes him a huge gamble, Bayliss said that his power-striking makes him a good bet to take in the lower order.
“If there is one format of the game where you can stick with someone who is not scoring as many runs as you’d like, it’s T20. It also depends a lot on where the player is batting. If he bats at No.6 or 7, 20 off eight or nine balls from him would be just as useful as the 70-80 scored by a top-order batsman.
“Yusuf has often batted lower in the order and he has made those runs for us. His role in this team is that of a finisher, and on a number of occasions, he has performed it quite well.”
Analysing the team’s skipper, Gautam Gambhir, Bayliss said, “As aggressive and intense as he is on the field, he is a very quiet personality off it. There are many great players who are extremely quiet by nature, but they step on to the field and go in the competition mode.
“He is a captain that leads by example. He doesn’t take a backward step and stands up for all his players. That gives the rest of the players the confidence that their captain is backing them, and it becomes easy for them to give their best,” Bayliss said.
When questions were raised over Jacques Kallis’ recent form and subsequent retirement from international cricket, Bayliss said that he can say without doubt that Kallis is still KKR’s rock.
“Jacques is a great player and you write players like them off at your own risk. When people think they are down and out, that’s when such players rise up to the occasion. He is still as strong as ever with the bat and ball, and I’d be surprised if he doesn’t do well in this tournament.”