Ganguly advises captain Kohli, and Praveen's nightmare
Kohli has to find a way to stay fresh - Ganguly
Royal Challengers Bangalore began IPL 2014 with two wins in two games. Since then, they have won one match in six. Their captain, Virat Kohli, India and limited-over cricket's golden boy over the past couple of years, has three ducks in eight innings. Former India captain Sourav Ganguly thinks the two are interconnected, with the challenges of leading Royal Challengers affecting Kohli's batting.
"Kohli is realising that the combination of captaincy and batsmanship is a bit different and he must quickly find a way to make that mental adjustment," Ganguly wrote in his column in Times of India. "It's not a tough thing to do and my advice to him would be to decide on a plan [for the team] at the start of the game, shut it out completely and direct all his mental energy and space towards scoring runs for himself, though he is bound to get affected at times for wrong decisions.
"He will also realise, in due course, that a lot of captaincy and tactics happens out in the middle and it's also about being aware of situations. On the whole he has to find a way to relax and stay fresh because too much of worrying can drain you out mentally."
Not being picked at auction left Praveen depressed
India pacer Praveen Kumar, who played his first game of the tournament on Saturday, only after Mumbai Indians brought him in as a replacement for the injured Zaheer Khan, said not being picked up at the auction in February left him in a mess mentally. In an interview with the IPL website, Praveen said he even went as far as to stop leaving his house due to the "negativity" that had set in. "Obviously, I was very disappointed when I was not picked in the auction. It was a shocking moment for me. I was dejected for the first week-and-a-half.
"There came a point when I actually stopped getting out of my house, thinking what people would talk about me and feared if they would ask me different kinds of questions. I was gutted that I hadn't got a chance to play on a platform where I have been playing for so long."
He kept himself going by taking part in the domestic T20 tournament, the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, Praveen said. "I played the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and a few corporate matches. My only motive was to get as much match practice as I can under my belt. I wanted to put in all my efforts and keep myself in sync with the game. I knew my shoulder, which had troubled me in the past [and kept him out of the India team recently], would only get better the more I bowl.
"I was extremely happy when I got a call from Mumbai Indians to represent them in the IPL. I couldn't sleep that night, and all of a sudden, I became a lot more positive. I have been playing international cricket for close to seven years now, and it was a great moment for me when I realised that I will be back in action."
CSK 'devastated' to miss out on Chepauk games - Fleming
Chennai Super Kings will not play at their home ground, the MA Chidambaram Stadium (or Chepauk), in IPL 2014 because of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association's prolonged deadlock with the municipal corporation over the legality of the construction of three new stands in the stadium in the lead-up to the 2011 World Cup. This, Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming said, was "very disappointing". "I say this on behalf of the team, I announce our disappointment that we can't go back," Fleming said after Super Kings' game against Mumbai Indians. "We enjoy amazing support all around India and around the world. But we were looking forward to giving back to the Chepauk [crowd]. We are devastated. as we were really looking forward to those games.
"Though Ranchi has been home away from home and we have played there beautifully, there was an element of returning back to the Chennai faithful. We won't be able to do that this year. We will carry that with us and hopefully put up a couple of good performances at Ranchi and move on. But as I said the team is sad not to be going back to our fan base."
Vohra will have to wait his turn - Bangar
The biggest surprise to come out of the franchises' player retentions this year was the case of Manan Vohra. The young Punjab batsman was one of only two uncapped players retained across eight teams. Kings XI Punjab had said then that Vohra was in the mould of Rajasthan Royals' Sanju Samson, prompting his retention. While Samson has played all eight of Royals' games this season, Vohra is yet to play once for Kings XI.
Kings XI coach Sanjay Bangar said the quality of Indian batsmen Vohra was competing with meant he had to miss out, and he'll have to wait his turn yet. "Manan is competing with Virender Sehwag and Cheteshwar Pujara. He'll have to wait," Bangar told the Telegraph. "We [also] have Shaun Marsh who hasn't been able to get a game. It's my job to keep them motivated and to make them understand that all decisions are taken keeping the team's interest in mind."