Newsfile, April 20 April 20, 2013

Yohan Blake still eyeing IPL, says Gayle

A round-up of IPL news on April 20, 2013

Following his success at the London Olympics last year, Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake had spoken about his love for cricket and his IPL ambitions. "I want to play in the IPL. I am working hard for it," Blake had said. His friend Chris Gayle, in a column in Indian newspapers, has hinted that Blake's not given up on that goal just yet. "Yohan sure loves his cricket and I can tell you that he hasn't given up on his IPL dream just yet," Galye wrote. "This year, he hasn't been able to realise his dream simply because he's focused on the upcoming track and field World championships. Considering that he's got me out in quite a few of the charity games we've played, I don't mind if he takes his time, unless of course, he joined RCB." Blake, meanwhile, in Outlook India, has tribute to pay to Tendulkar in the lead-up to his 40th birthday. "While most of my mates were Brian Lara fans, I always felt an affinity towards Sachin. I even have DVDs of some Sachin classics and watch them off and on," Blake said. "The day he scored his ODI double hundred, we were watching the match at a pub in Jamaica, and when he reached 120, there was talk among us about how many he'd get in that innings. Some of my friends suggested he'd get 150 and no more. I was the only one who suggested he'd get a double. We had a bet, and the deal was they'd take me to dinner if he did. I was thrilled when he scored his double, and if I had had his number then, I'd surely have called him and thanked him for winning me a fabulous dinner."

Eden Gardens gears up for Tendulkar's 40th
Sachin Tendulkar turns 40 on April 24, the day Knight Riders host Mumbai Indians. To celebrate the occasion, the Cricket Association of Bengal has something sweet planned: a 40 pound cake. "A special Hyderabadi chef has been put in charge to make the cake, which will have 40 different expressions of Tendulkar," CAB secretary Sujan Mukherjee told PTI. "We are yet to convey this to the team. But we want to make it a low-key affair in the Mumbai Indians dressing room."

Jennings sees similarities between Kohli and Graeme Smith
A day after AB de Villiers had good words for Virat Kohli's captaincy skills, Royal Challengers Bangalore coach Ray Jennings has compared his leadership qualities with that of South Africa's Graeme Smith. Jennings, who had coached South Africa when Smith was in his early days as captain, said he understands the process that Kohli is going through at the moment. "As much as I was national coach with Graeme Smith when he was 21-22, I see a lot of similarities between Kohli and Smith. They both lead from the front, they are both tough guys and they both take time to mature, which Smith had the opportunity to do. I understand where Virat is. The public needs to understand, and people that work with Virat need to mould the guy into something that is going to be very special for India in the next ten years. We all know Virat Kohli is going to be a different captain for India one day. He is a real fighter, he needs to understand his strengths and his weaknesses, and a fighter sometimes needs to quieten down to be the quiet fighter. I think over time he will learn that."

Senanayake enjoying Narine's company
Sachithra Senanayake is happy to work with fellow offspinner Sunil Narine for Kolkata Knight Riders. Senanayake, who was bought by Knight Riders at the 2013 auction for US$625,000, said he was pleasantly surprised when that happened: "I wasn't following the auctions that day since I was busy playing domestic cricket in Sri Lanka. My manager called me later in the day and said that the franchisees were bidding heavily for me. I was very surprised when KKR picked another foreign spinner because they already had Sunil Narine in the side." Talking to the IPL site about his partnership with Narine, he said: "Narine is someone who doesn't talk much, but believes in doing his job to near perfection. When we practice together, we have a chat and make our set of plans before a game. But we both are different bowlers. What we can share with each other are our experiences. For example, he helps me with some tips on how to bowl to West Indian batsmen like Chris Gayle and Keiron Pollard. He tells me where to bowl and what line and lengths to avoid while bowling to them, and it is the same when he has to bowl to Sri Lankan players."

Nikita Bastian is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo