April 3, 2013

Newsfile, April 3

Malinga out of opening match

ESPNcricinfo staff
Ajinkya Rahane goes over cover, Rajasthan Royals v Pune Warriors, IPL, Jaipur, May 13, 2012
Ajinkya Rahane has outlined his role of guiding youngsters in the Rajasthan Royals squad this year  © AFP
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Lasith Malinga has been ruled out of Mumbai Indians' opening match on Thursday due to a sore back. Malinga has been among the most dangerous bowlers in the IPL over the past few seasons, and his absence will be a big blow ahead of the game against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.

"Malinga will miss the first match of this season due to the on-going treatment for sore back," a Mumbai Indians official said. "He was scheduled to join MI camp in Bangalore yesterday but now he will only join the squad in Mumbai for the team's first home match."

Rahane ready for new innings

Ajinkya Rahane wants to forget his Test debut against Australia in Delhi. A total of eight runs would have disappointed one of the most consistent batsmen in the last few years on the Indian domestic circuit. Now, Rahane wants to focus on the positives including his match-winning performances for Rajasthan Royals last year where he made a century and fell short of a second to end as the tournament's fourth-highest run-maker. Under the stewardship of Royals' captain Rahul Dravid, Rahane has outlined his role this year: to guide youngsters and not take all the pressure on himself.

Mahmood the T20 specialist
Since his exclusion from the Pakistan squad, Azhar Mahmood has become a cricketing journeyman of sorts. He now lives in England and plays county cricket for Kent, and also travels the world participating in Twenty20 leagues in different countries, including the Big Bash League in Australia, the Ram Slam T20 league in South Africa and the Bangladesh Premier League. Mahmood believes the popularity of the format gives ageing cricketers plenty of opportunities. "In T20, wickets are mainly good for batting and wherever you go it's the same," Mahmood told Hindustan Times. "Besides, in my international career, I have travelled to all these countries, so I know the conditions as a player. In the end, it all comes down to applying yourself in those conditions. If I am able to perform to my potential, compete against a 19-year-old for a place in the playing XI, it's good."

Yuvraj 'Kane(s)' Richardson
If you are paid $700,000, there must be something you should be good at. Kane Richardson, the 22-year-old South Australian, was brought down to earth when he erred "an inch" in line while bowling to Yuvraj Singh and the Indian batsman blissfully sent the ball "30 rows behind square leg". Richardson told The Indian Express of the sleepless night he had after the IPL auction in February, where he was the third-most expensive player to be purchased.

RCB bowling unit lethal, says Prasad
Venkatesh Prasad, bowling coach of Royal Challengers Bangalore, believes his side has a strong fast-bowling attack, with as many as 11 seamers in the squad. In The Times of India, Prasad said he was happy with the variety and potential in the attack, but the form and fitness of players like Daniel Vettori and Zaheer Khan, who are returning from injury, was a worry.

Pomersbach wants to move on

Australia batsman Luke Pomersbach was in the news for allegedly assaulting a woman and her fiance during last year's IPL. Pomersbach, who was first suspended and later released by Royal Challengers Bangalore following the incident in Delhi, was bought in the 2013 auction by his first franchise, Kings XI Punjab.

Pomersbach wants to move on from what happened going into the new IPL season. "A lot has happened in the past but I do not want to think about it anymore," he told IANS. "It is behind me now. Last year, things were blown out of proportion. Now, I just want to focus on playing some good cricket if I get to play."

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