'Umesh, the most talented bowler for India' - Nehra
Delhi Daredevils and former India seamer Ashish Nehra believes Umesh Yadav is the leading fast bowler in India at the moment, and will be central to India's fortunes in upcoming Test assignments. "Umesh has done so well and if you ask me personally, he is the most talented bowler for India," Nehra said on the eve of Daredevils' away match against Chennai Super Kings. "If he does well, then it will augur well for India as they will play some important Test matches [India tour South Africa at the end of the year] in coming months." Talking about his other Daredevils and India team-mate, Irfan Pathan, Nehra said his all-round skills could come in handy at the Champions Trophy and he is constantly improving. "The way I have seen Irfan bowling earlier, he is getting better by the day. He is getting into the rhythm slowly. I think in England, Irfan's batting will come in handy. I think that is what the selectors have seen [when picking him]."
'RCB bowling incapable of defending even 200' - Shastri
Former India allrounder and current television commentator Ravi Shastri has said Royal Challengers Bangalore find themselves in a tough corner in this IPL due to their ordinariness with the ball. "Bangalore are battling for survival. Despite having two of the three top run-busters in the season. Despite having the most feared bat in Chris Gayle. Despite having the most crushing presence of AB de Villiers in the death overs … The entire circuit now knows the issue with Bangalore. It's their bowling which is incapable of defending even 200 runs," Shastri wrote in a column in the Times of India. "They leak runs in torrents in the death overs. It's too one-dimensional. Ravi Rampaul, Vinay Kumar and Jaydev Unadkat are decent, but unthreatening with their presence. Spinners are non-existent." Their bowling becomes more ineffective as the game progresses, Shastri said: "Bangalore aren't a bad bowling side in the first six overs. Rampaul is crafty and can generate surprising bounce. Vinay and Jaydev are allowed to get a look-in. But once the restriction is off, they lose their mojo. They don't have pace. None but Vinay Kumar is good at taking pace off the ball. They are left with the only options of using the crease and bowling widish half-volleys."
Off-limit Chepauk stands opened up for Daredevils game
The three stands at the MA Chidambaram Stadium that were sealed by the Chennai Corporation on Sunday have been opened up to the public for the Chennai Super Kings-Delhi Daredevils match on Tuesday. The Supreme Court of India has ruled that the stands can be opened up just for this match, as tickets have already been sold for the game. The three stands seat approximately 12,000 people. The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association, according to reports, had assured Supreme Court the stands would not be used in any other match without its permission. The issue apparently centres around the stands being built without receiving the required permissions. While they had been sealed previously, till now in IPL 2013 they had all been in use.
'Nothing wrong with Ranchi pitch' - curator
Following Ranchi's debut as an IPL venue on Sunday, the sluggish pitch had come in for some criticism. The track, on which Royal Challengers Bangalore limped to 115 for 9, before Kolkata Knight Riders edged home with four balls to spare, was not "ideal for T20 cricket" Knight Riders allrounder Jacques Kallis had said. Royal Challengers spinner Murali Kartik had termed it slow and doubled-paced. But the JSCA International Stadium chief curator Shyam Bahadur Singh has said there was nothing substandard about the surface. "There's nothing wrong with the pitch. It has been made following the BCCI pitch committee's directive and under the guidance of head curator Daljit Singh right from the beginning. It has to be understood that every pitch is different in character and behaves accordingly," he was quoted as saying by the Times of India. "The same track will be used for the KKR-Pune tie." The Knight Riders-Pune Warriors game on Wednesday will be the second and last at the venue in this IPL.
Nikita Bastian is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo