'No harsh words exchanged between me and Dravid' - Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir, the Kolkata Knight Riders captain, has played down the exchange he was involved in on Friday night, during which he appeared to have argued with Rajasthan Royals captain Rahul Dravid. A tweet from Gambhir's Twitter handle said: "Guys, u have got it all wrong. No harsh words exchanged between me n Rahul bhai. He was n will always be a respected teammate. No fuss plz." The issue seemed to centre around Royals allrounder Shane Watson and Knight Riders batsman Manvinder Bisla. Watson, in his followthrough, allegedly threatened to throw the ball at Bisla, setting off a heated discussion. Dravid attempted to intervene, but Bisla seemed agitated and Gambhir, the non-striker, joined his partner in an exchange with Dravid. In the following over, Gambhir, on being dismissed, appeared to exchange more words with Dravid before walking off.
Guess we are always obsessed wid some drama or spice. Sorry none existed between me and rahul. Always respect him.— Gautam Gambhir(@GautamGambhir) May 3, 2013
Dhawan has stepped into Sehwag's shoes for India - Srikkanth
Sunrisers Hyderabad mentor Kris Srikkanth believes opener Shikhar Dhawan not only makes his IPL team a stronger unit, but is also on his way to becoming a major cog in the Indian team. Speaking ahead of Sunrisers' home game against Delhi Daredevils, Srikkanth - who was India's previous chairman of selectors - said: "Sunrisers are very happy with the way things are going. One good thing is the team spirit is very high. With Shikhar Dhawan coming in, batting is also looking strong and nice. That man has got into the shoes of Virender Sehwag and is going to be a crucial member for India." Dhawan grabbed the spotlight on Test debut against Australia in Mohali earlier this year, when he slammed the fastest ton by a Test debutant. He is expected to make it to India's squad for the Champions Trophy in June, in place of the flagging Sehwag.
Dhoni tops lists of cricket's fearsome strikers - Srinath
Chennai Super Kings' strong showing so far in IPL 2013 comes as no surprise according to former India quick Javagal Srinath, given that they have the services of MS Dhoni. In a column in the New Indian Express, Srinath wrote: "Even in a format as fickle as T20, Chennai Super Kings have been a cut above the rest … That should hardly come as a surprise, given that MS Dhoni is at their helm. From the first time I saw him in Nairobi, nearly a decade back in a triangular 'A' tournament, I have followed his progress keenly and with no little pleasure. In Nairobi, Dhoni came across as an uncut diamond, someone capable of brutalising a cricket ball. Experience at the highest level has made him even a smarter batsman. Believe me, I have seen some fearsome strikers of the cricket ball, and Dhoni is right up there on top of my list. The way he accelerates and cuts loose can be breathtaking. Whether the ball is there to be hit or not, he will hit it. Given his approach, it is little short of a miracle that he succeeds as often as he does, but that again is no surprise because of the supreme confidence Dhoni carries with him."
Having good players doesn't guarantee wins - Pollard
Kieron Pollard, the big-hitting Mumbai Indians allrounder, has said it is unjustified to expect his team to win every time just because they boast a high-profile line-up. "It's a sport. Just because you have a good team and good players doesn't mean you are entitled to win. You still have to go out there and perform," Pollard said at an event. The team has not been at its best this year, but is still very much in contention, he said. "We are not having the best of the seasons, but we are in the top four. And that is all that matters at the end of the day. It's about being in the top four and qualifying for the semi-finals and hopefully into the finals. And the guys are coming into form. We have a very good chance each and every year, and this year has been an even better chance. We have seen glimpses of what we can do." After 10 games this season, Mumbai Indians have six wins, similar stats to those of Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Nikita Bastian is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo