'We can give up on KKR now' - Shastri
Ravi Shastri, the former India allrounder and current TV commentator, has said in his column in the Times of India that defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders have been way too predictable this season. Their middle order, he said, has been woeful. "I think we can give up on Kolkata Knight Riders now. They have been clinging to a slim chance which, but for them, isn't visible to others. Most know what they've lacked. For me, the biggest issue has been their lack of mystery. They're just so plain predictable," Shastri wrote. "So teams plan to play out Sunil Narine and attack the rest. A good fast bowler is kept in reserve for Yusuf Pathan. The middle-order is virtually non-existent so [the opposition's] best bowlers are pressed to get their top four. The virus has also got to Gambhir and Kallis, their two best batsmen. The two barely last beyond 10 overs. They also don't deserve a medal for their fielding." Knight Riders, after 12 games, have just four wins, and apart from winning all their remaining games will need other results to go in their favour to have any chance of qualifying for the playoffs.
T20 not just about darting the ball in - Ojha
Mumbai Indians left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha has said he has been working on slowing up his pace in the IPL, with some help from team mentor Anil Kumble. "I am consciously working on bowling slower through the air," Ojha said. "I keep things simple and vary the pace and spin the ball. Normally in this format, I have seen the bowlers bowl really fast, so they compromise on turning the ball. But when you have people like Anil Kumble as a mentor, that experience helps you." Ojha has 14 wickets in nine innings, with an economy rate of 6.25, so far this IPL season. Talking about Kumble's advice, Ojha said: "He has told me to vary the pace. In the second innings, there is always a lot of dew on the wicket. If you try to bowl fast, it becomes easy for the batsman to clear the boundary, but if you are slower through the air, he will need to use a lot of power and will need to get on top of the ball to hit it."
'T20 is like fast food' - Sandeep Patil
Even while the IPL extravaganza hurtles towards its climax, India's chief selector Sandeep Patil has reminded young cricketers to attach prime importance to Test cricket. Speaking at an event in Mumbai, Patil - as quoted by the Times of India - said: "Please, if you want to play true cricket, it's only Test cricket. T20s are like fast food where you just pay, grab a bite and go home. But if you want to earn a name for yourself, for your team, for your country, for your parents, please give importance to the longer version of the game which is true cricket."
Nikita Bastian is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo