Love what Baz brings to the table - Smith
West Indies allrounder Dwayne Smith and New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum sizzled in their first opening partnership for Chennai, making 123 runs in 12.4 overs against Punjab. Smith said he could see a fruitful association in the making. "It was obviously a privilege to play with Tendulkar [for Mumbai] and batting with Baz [McCullum] is fun too," Smith told IPLT20.com. "I really love what Baz brings to the table. The good thing is that we are very similar batsmen; we both like to hit big and play attacking cricket. We spoke before the game and he told me, 'Dwayne, if we bat together for 10 overs, the team will be in an excellent position.' We opened the batting for the first time, but we did play together for Sussex in England. That familiarity helped us construct this partnership today because we know each other's strengths very well."
Miller wants Sehwag's 'courage of conviction'
Virender Sehwag is new to the Punjab team and South Africa batsman David Miller, who was retained by the franchise after his exploits in the 2013 season, wants to learn from one of his "heroes". "One thing I would really like to imbibe from him is his courage of conviction," Miller told IPLT20.com. "Over the years, he has been so consistent with the way he approaches his game and prepares for it. He has such strong self-belief that it doesn't matter what anyone says about his game. He has achieved greatness on his own terms." The Punjab team is extremely different to the 2013 outfit and Miller said the new atmosphere was exciting. "They say that youth brings fearlessness and enterprising qualities into a team. I think we saw a glimpse of that in the way we pulled off the tough chase [against Chennai]," he said. "It is easier to bond with guys your age, but having said that, we also have players like Sehwag and [George] Bailey, who bring knowledge and experience with them."
Bhatia relishes responsibility at Rajasthan
Rajat Bhatia has been part of the Delhi and Kolkata franchises in previous seasons, but his newest team - Rajasthan - is posing a different challenge, one he is enjoying. The team is full of youngsters, and Bhatia has a senior role to play. "I have to shoulder more responsibility here," he told IPL20.com. "Rahul (Dravid) bhai told me from the beginning that I have to play the role of the senior and experienced player in this team. I have played all the seasons of the IPL and know some stuff about the Indian players. He told me it was my responsibility to guide the young Indian players in the team and I am trying to do my best in passing on to them whatever I know."
Why Eoin Morgan pulled out of the tournament
Eoin Morgan was one of few England players to find a regular place in franchise rosters but he withdrew from the 2014 auction to try and win a Test spot after Kevin Pietersen was axed from the national team. "I was at the interim stage between applying to go into the IPL auction and the auction itself," he said. "You are legally bound at that point to go into any contract offered. But with what happened to Kev [Kevin Pietersen] and other positions being in question, I think everybody sees it as a huge opportunity," he said. "I spent a bit of time thinking about it. Then I had a meeting with Paul Downton (ECB's managing director) to discuss the possibility of withdrawing from the IPL auction. The ECB worked with the Indian board in getting me withdrawn. That was the purpose of the meeting, not for them to encourage me that there was a place. But we talked about the Test team and that for anyone who scored a lot of runs in county cricket there was a possibility they might be picked and I certainly wanted to throw my hat in the ring."