Newsfile: April 29
I was just a little bit rusty – McCullum: After scoring 36 runs in his previous four innings, Brendon McCullum was relived to more than double his aggregate for Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2012 against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Saturday. After nudging his way too 11 off 20, McCullum went on to score 43 off 37 in a 95-run opening stand with Gautam Gambhir that set up Knight Riders for their big win. Batting on Saturday’s track, for him, wasn’t easy, McCullum said. “I found it pretty tough to start off. The way Gauti is playing, he just makes things look ridiculously easy. He played some unbelievable cricket and probably made the wicket look a lot better than what it was,” he told IPLT20. “I was just a little bit rusty as I haven’t spent too much time out in the middle. It’s always hard to come out when you are searching for a score and [then] try banging from the ball one. I tried to settle [down].”
Ashwin fined: Chennai Super Kings offspinner R Ashwin has been fined 5% of his match fee for showing dissent at the umpire's decision, in the game against Kings XI Punjab on Saturday. He pleaded guilty to the Level 1 offence.
Mahmood has had positive impact – Gilchrist: Azhar Mahmood had missed the early part of the IPL due to visa complications, but once he has come into the Kings XI Punjab team, he has had a ‘nice, little impact’, according to captain Adam Gilchrist. Mahmood has played the last four of Kings XI's games, and his controlled bowling at the death has been rather impressive. But it is his contribution off the field that has made a difference as well, Gilchrist said. “He has been impressive with his whole approach and the attitude,” PTI reported Gilchrist as saying. “He is level-headed and wants to share it with others on the field as well as off it. He certainly has made a nice, little impact for us. It's a shame that he couldn't convert that start [against Chennai Super Kings] into a big knock, but these are the sort of small moments of impact. It [his two sixes] definitely gave us the impetus.”
Harbhajan says his bowling is off: A lack of wickets has been Harbhajan Singh’s problem for quite a while now, resulting in him being dropped from the India XI last year. With one wicket from eight games (seven innings) in the IPL so far, it seems to be a problem that just won’t go away. After Mumbai Indians were thumped by Delhi Daredevils on Friday, their captain, Harbhajan, admitted to his form being poor. “I can just hope this will not continue for long,” he said. “The good days came to an end, so will the bad days. The Twenty20 format is such that even good balls can go for six. But I should have bowled much better in the last three games. I have been working really hard and hope my form turns around soon.”
’Everything is optional’ with Sehwag – Pietersen: Kevin Pietersen has said that the best thing about playing under Virender Sehwag for Delhi Daredevils is the fact that the captain doesn’t force anything on any player. “He is a magnificent captain. I like the way he captains because everything is optional – you do what you want to do to get the best out of your ability,” Pietersen told IPLT20. “I think that’s a brilliant way to captain and I love it. It works for me and I know it works for a lot of other senior players, so it is good and I love it. Viru might not look like he is strategising, but he does. He might just be a little more relaxed, a little calmer [than most captains].”
Shah unsure of IPL showing impressing England selectors: Will a sustained strong showing in the IPL pitchfork Owais Shah into the England team for the upcoming World Twenty20? The tournament is being held in Sri Lanka, so conditions will not be too different, and besides, Shah is currently the third-highest run-getter in all Twenty20 cricket. But Shah is not getting ahead of himself. "I really don't know if the English selectors are watching the IPL," he told the Times of India. "I really don't know whether the IPL will count for that [a place in the England World Twenty20 squad]. I didn't make any special preparations for the IPL. I am familiar with the conditions and that could be helping me."
Nikita Bastian is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo