Napier raring to go for Mumbai
Essex allrounder Graham Napier is keen on joining the Mumbai Indians for the second season of the IPL which gets underway in South Africa from April 18. The 29-year-old, who returned to England after a winter in New Zealand with the Wellington state side and the England Lions, had agreed to join the Mumbai Indians but the franchise and his county, Essex, are still to agree on the period of time he will remain in South Africa.
Napier believed he had a lot to contribute to the team, especially having played in South Africa during a few tournaments. "I have played out there before [for England in the Under-19 World Cup and pre-season with Essex] so am looking forward to returning soon," Napier said. "South Africa did seem the better option at this time of year because the weather is a lot warmer and more predictable. There is always the chance of April showers back here as well as there being a massive difference in the pitches and conditions between South Africa and England at the moment. It's the end of their cricketing summer in South Africa so they are all ready to go.
"As it stands I am now just waiting for the call from the Mumbai Indians with details of when and where I need to go. Up to that point I will be training back here - not too far away from a phone!"
He expressed his disappointment at the IPL being moved out of India, but believed the fervour would remain intact despite the switch. "Firstly I'm disappointed the IPL won't be in India," he said. "It would have been a great experience in front of the Indian fans, who are renowned for being fantastic cricket supporters.
"However, I do realise it has to be moved for security reasons so South Africa will also be a very exciting experience. They are also good supporters of cricket so I'm sure it will be well-attended and well-organised."
Napier made the headlines during the English summer with a breathtaking 152 off 58 balls in the Twenty20 Cup against Sussex, which prompted talk of him being handed an England call-up. That didn't happen, but he did become a very marketable property and even drew the attention of the IPL franchises.
Only one England player, Dimitri Mascarenhas, has so far appeared in the IPL but with Kevin Pietersen, Andrew Flintoff, Owais Shah, Paul Collingwood and Ravi Bopara on board for the second edition, Napier will soon be hoping to make an impact as well.