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With five wins in six matches, Kings XI Punjab now play their first home match in India, against Chennai Super Kings. However, Cuttack’s Barabati Stadium is as much home to the team from Mohali as it is for CSK. And KXIP Skipper George Bailey admitted as much on the eve of the game.
“It will be a challenge because we are not used to this venue,” Bailey said before finding a positive in the situation. “We’ve had a training session today and CSK haven’t since they only played last night. So, that way, we will have maybe a slight advantage. But other than that, there will be no home advantage for us here.
When asked whether the team will consider brining in Murali Kartik in the playing XI, Bailey kept his cards close to his chest and did not reveal much. “That’s an option, for sure. Regardless of whether we are playing well or not, choosing the right players on the basis of the venue conditions and the opposition is a process that we go through.”
Speaking of the new venue, what the KXIP skipper liked the most about the Barabati Stadium was its long boundaries. “I like the size of the ground – it’s a bigger ground and that brings the skills and tactics into the picture much more. So, that’s pleasing to see.”
The Australian T20 captain also said that he relishes his time leading an IPL team for various reasons.
“It has been very different for me leading a team with players from varied cultures. You get to immerse yourself in their cultures and learn so much about how different players prepare for their game and how they think about their game.
“For me, the best thing about captaining a team in the IPL as opposed to leading Australia in a T20 tournament is that here you actually get the time to build a team. The length of the tournament means that you spend a lot of time together and really get to know each other quite well. In an international T20 tournament, you just get together for three-four matches, and that’s it.
“It’s a privilege to be in this position where you can learn so much and hopefully help the younger guys,” he said.