IPL newsfile April 29, 2014

Mumbai Indians sign Lendl Simmons

ESPNcricinfo staff

Lendl Simmons, the West Indies batsman, has signed up for the Mumbai Indians after the IPL technical committee approved him as a replacement for Jalaj Saxena. Saxena had been ruled out the season after sustaining a finger injury in his right hand during a training session.

Simmons, who has played close to 100 international matches for West Indies, had a stellar season with Guyana Amazon Warriors in last year's Caribbean Premier League, where he emerged as the team's highest run-getter with 263 runs from nine matches at 33.25 to power them into the final, which they eventually lost against Jamaica Tallawahs.

Since then, however, Simmons' form has tailed off a little in the shortest format. He managed just 77 runs from five matches in the Champions League Twenty20 for Trinidad & Tobago, and was just as indifferent in West Indies' World T20 campaign, where he scored just 88 runs in five innings.

Simmons is likely to be available for Mumbai Indians' next match, against Sunrisers Hyderabad tomorrow. His new team have had a dismal start to the season, losing their opening four games and are rooted at the bottom of the IPL table.

South Africa's Rossouw joins Royal Challengers
Royal Challengers Bangalore have named South African batsman Rilee Rossouw as the replacement for Nic Maddinson, who was ruled out of the IPL because of a hand injury. Rossouw, who represents South African franchise Knights, has scored 1362 Twenty20 runs at a strike-rate of 126.81 and was the top-scorer for the franchise in this year's domestic T20 competition. He had been part of the Royal Challengers squad for the 2012 season.

Shouldn't have batted at No.3 - Gambhir
With three noughts from four matches, Gautam Gambhir has been one of the flops of IPL 2014 so far. After registering ducks in his first three innings, Gambhir demoted himself down to No.3, but found little success even there, as he scratched around for a five-ball 1 against Kings XI Punjab. Gambhir took full responsibility for his decision, which backfired and resulted in a second loss for Kolkata Knight Riders.

"I am not sure of my decision to have batted down the order in the last game against Kings XI Punjab," Gambhir wrote in Hindustan Times . "I think it not only made me even more anxious sitting and waiting for my turn but more importantly, it disrupted Manish Pandey's rhythm who was surely finding his bearings at the No 3 slot.

"I wanted to see if I got my form back by dropping down the order. The bigger picture was that if I scored runs at No 3 and got my confidence back then it would surely augur well for the team and I can go back to opening the innings in the next game.

"But we missed an equally important aspect: how will the other batsmen react to this shuffle. More importantly, in hindsight, I felt I let down the leader in me. I should have taken the bull by its horns and continued trying to excel while opening the batting."

Sandeep revels under experienced heads

While Glenn Maxwell and David Miller have hogged most of the headlines for Kings XI's perfect start to the season, Sandeep Sharma has quietly been making a name for himself. Boasting an impressive economy rate of 5.63, Sandeep already has seven wickets, as well as two Man-of-the-Match awards to his name, and the medium-pacer credited the senior members in the side for their valuable inputs.

"Bala paaji (L Balaji) has been really helpful when it comes to preparing me for situations where I might get hit for runs and will have to maintain my cool," Sandeep told iplt20.com. "This is his seventh IPL and he has faced a lot of difficult situations while bowling. Talking to him about it will keep me better mentally and physically equipped to face such situations when they arrive.

"(Mitchell) Johnson and I are completely different type of bowlers, but what I have been leaning immensely from him is how to prepare yourself for the match in your practice sessions, how to conduct yourself confidently on the field and how to plan your moves based on the batsmen and situation.

"For instance, in our last match (against KKR), I was bowling my last over and was hit for boundaries off the first two balls. Mitchell came to me and said that the bowling plan and the field that I was using was for a top-order batsman and it will not work against the tail-enders. He asked me to bowl straight length balls from over the wicket instead of using variations and trying to create angles."

Maxwell catch was easier - Starc

Mitchell Starc has described his stunning diving catch to dismiss Glenn Maxwell in Royal Challengers Bangalore's last game as a "little easier" than his equally brilliant effort near the boundary to get rid of Wriddhiman Saha.

"Maxi's catch was more satisfying because he has been scoring heavily and I was happy to get him out cheaply. It didn't do us any good in the end but I was happy to take a couple of good ones," Starc said. "Technically, however, I found Maxi's catch a little easier. Saha had hit the ball hard and I didn't know to which part of the boundary it was going. Also, I had to maintain my balance very close to the rope. For me, getting low in front is easier than the balancing act."

With already several deserving nominees for catch of the tournament, Starc's two grabs are also bound to make the list, and the seamer shed light on his technique which has served him well over the years.

"I always have my fingers pointed down; I don't like to catch with fingers facing skywards," he said. "Back home, most players favour the reverse cup method and some also say it is easier to get into the right position. But I have been used to the other method since childhood and it has stayed with me."

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