Newsfile, April 2 April 2, 2013

Mumbai Indians are strong contenders - Ganguly

ESPNcricinfo staff
Round-up of the IPL news on April 2

This is the first time Sourav Ganguly, the former India captain, will not feature in the IPL. By his own admission, Ganguly has played enough and now wants to enjoy the game from the outside. Speaking to The Times of India, Ganguly rates Mumbai Indians as one of contenders for the title after several changes to their side.

"They have a new but highly experienced coach in John Wright, the well-respected Anil Kumble as their mentor and senior pro Ricky Ponting as captain. Along with Sachin Tendulkar and Harbhajan Singh's experience, you have exciting youngsters in Glenn Maxwell, Rohit Sharma and Ambati Rayudu. They are a formidable unit and will be strong contenders for the title," Ganguly said.

Hussey open to coaching role

Michael Hussey, the Chennai Super Kings batsman, has said he would like to consider taking up coaching after this playing career is over, perhaps even a role with his IPL side. "I'd love to give coaching a go," he told Times of India. "I'd like to give everything a try and see what I like. I have a really good rapport with the guys at CSK. At this stage, I would be a very inexperienced coach but I would still be able to empathise with them and help them."

The key to a successful side in the IPL was the quality of Indian players, Hussey said. "In my opinion, domestic players are crucial for the success of the franchisee. The difference between good teams and the rest is the quality of Indian players because overseas players cancel each other out over the course of the season."

Gilchrist does a U-turn

Adam Gilchrist has done an about-turn. Last year, Gilchrist, then leading Kings XI Punjab as the captain-cum-mentor, had said he was playing his last IPL. However, a year later, Gilchrist continues to be the captain of Kings XI. So what compelled him to change his mind?

The appointments of former Australia team-mate Darren Lehmann as Kings XI coach, along with former Indian opener WV Raman as the assistant coach, Gilchrist said, would allow him to solely focus on leadership. Kings XI also have Mike Young, the former Australia fielding coach, as part of their support staff. The trio of Gilchrist, Lehmann, and Young, had successfully led Deccan Chargers, the former Hyderabad-based franchise, to the IPL title in 2009.

Nayar seeking fresh start with Warriors

He was Mumbai's go-to man during their victorious Ranji Trophy campaign before captaining the side in the Irani Cup and emerging the costliest buy among Indian players in the IPL auction. The season appeared bright and rosy for Abhishek Nayar, until he experienced something he would find difficult to forget - bowling a 17-ball over in a Deodhar Trophy match.

"Everything can't be that rosy. Post that game, when I was sitting in the dressing room, the only thing I said to my team-mates was , "Can you imagine what was I going through after that second over?" To be able to come back, bowl seven overs and pick up two wickets was an achievement. There are no excuses, you mess up, you mess up," Nayar, who hopes to set his IPL record straight during his first season with Pune Warriors, said

"Prior to that [tournament], I was injured and I was in Bangalore [at the National Cricket Academy]. Just four days before that, I had got a cortisone shot on my ankle, so I hadn't bowled for three weeks before that. I was telling my physio at the NCA to let me bowl but he said, "no, we have to take it easy". I wouldn't say I was rusty because I got a wicket off the first ball but it was just one of those things that I will never forget. I know it's a big mess-up in the context of the game but in times to come, it's something I will just laugh about. I can't get too serious about it. I feel it was nice for me to come back stronger after that."

Royal Challengers sign KL Rahul

Royal Challengers Bangalore have signed Karnataka top-order batsman KL Rahul just days before the 2013 season. Rahul, 20, had a good season with Karnataka in the Ranji Trophy, scoring 400 runs in five matches at an average of exactly 50, with one century. He carried that form into the 50-over Vijay Hazare Trophy, scoring two centuries and aggregating 403 runs in seven games at an average of 67.16. Rahul also doubles up as a wicketkeeper.

Dhawan needs two more weeks for recovery

Shikhar Dhawan, the Sunrisers Hyderabad opener, has said he will take another two weeks to recover from the hand injury he suffered during the Test series against Australia. Dhawan fractured his knuckle while fielding in Mohali, the same match in which he scored a century on debut.

"I expect to get fit in another two weeks time and hope to play the IPL from the second phase. Right now, I came to Hyderabad to meet the team but I am flying back to Australia today," he told PTI. Dhawan was the highest run-getter for the erstwhile Deccan Chargers franchise which was later acquired by the Sun TV Group. The franchise was renamed Sunrisers Hyderabad.

National Geographic to air Inside IPL

National Geographic Channel will air a special series titled Inside IPL, a behind-the-scenes look at the cash-rich Twenty20 league and the story behind its creation. The documentary will air later in the year, though the dates are yet to be announced.