Newsfile, April 6 April 6, 2013

Pujara hopes to return in last week of April

ESPNcricinfo staff
Round-up of the IPL news on April 6

Cheteshwar Pujara, the Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman, has said he'll take another two weeks to return to cricket and hopes to play for his side in the IPL in the last week of April. Pujara fractured his index finger during the final Test against Australia in Delhi.

"I will take at least two weeks more to return to cricket," Pujara told Indian Express. "When I fractured my finger, during the Delhi Test, physios had advised me that I needed to take at least three-four weeks rest. I hope to be available for RCB by the last week of April but at the same time I don't want to rush things."

Pietersen pops by
Ruled out of the IPL due to a knee injury, Kevin Pietersen showed up to cheer on his Daredevils' team-mates, meeting them at their hotel before spending a couple of hours at the ground. "KP came in late last night and the players at the hotel received a pleasant surprise," a Delhi official said. "Speaking to him and spending time with him was definitely good for them. It is still early days in the tournament but this was definitely good for their morale." The English batsman, who joined the Daredevils squad last year, scored 305 runs in eight games.

Helping youngsters a priority for Laxman

VVS Laxman, the Sunrisers Hyderabad mentor, is enjoying his new role with the IPL side, together with the experience he's had so far as a commentator following his retirement. "I am experiencing various things. It is great to be contributing back to the game," he told PTI. "Cricket gave me everything. With the wealth of experience I have got, I want to share it with the concerned people.

"Mentoring is sharing my experience with the players. Through commentary, it is sharing with the viewers. I was not a part of the franchise in the last two years but it is great to be coming back. There was uncertainty in November and December when we were not sure whether IPL would actually be in Hyderabad."

Working with youngsters was a big priority for Laxman. "Not only now, even when I was playing, I thought it is my moral responsibility to share my experiences with youngsters by way of discussion rather than forcing them to follow. We face lot of situations and how you address [them] is important. I think it will be great if I can give my suggestions and probably help the youngsters face the situations."

Turn and flight key - Botha

The key to counter batsmen in the subcontinent as a spinner, Johan Botha says, is to try to impart more turn on the ball. "It doesn't bounce so much in the sub-continent (so), you have to try and beat the batsmen in flight, try and spin the ball more. Those are the basics - less bounce but more spin, but guys also play it really well," Botha, the Delhi Daredevils offspinner, told "Players play spin a lot better here so I think that's the big difference. In Australia and South Africa the ball bounces more and that probably helps you and if the batsmen try to take you on they are more likely to miss the middle of the bat."

Botha has also been working with Daredevils' spin-bowling consultant Mushtaq Ahmed. "We have just had chats. We don't chat about new deliveries (or) new skills but he chats with us just to reassure us that what we are doing sometimes does work. Even though batsmen take you for runs sometimes, Mushy is calm about it. He says, as spinners you are going to go for runs somewhere along the line and so not to worry too much about that and keep bowling your best deliveries."

Close to where I was with fitness - Dravid

Rahul Dravid, the Rajasthan Royals captain, said he found it a little difficult to motivate himself for the IPL during the time off he had since his retirement. "There is a motivation to stay fit, there is a motivation to stick to your routine. I had eight months off, so I found it little difficult in the initial period," he said on the eve of the team's game against Delhi Daredevils.

"There are general targets. I know what my fitness standard was when I was at my peak and was playing my best cricket. I have tried to be as close to that as possible but I might not have achieved that target. But then, when you grow older, it is expected to be like that… But I am very close to where I was."