McCullum enjoying batting with 'intelligent' Smith
Chennai Super Kings went into the IPL season with a fresh opening pair in Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith. So far, the two have responded with starts of 123, 23, 35, 11 and 85. McCullum said he was enjoying batting with Smith, and added that despite their aggressive styles, they were complementing each other, which MS Dhoni had pointed out earlier.

"It is great to bat with him because he is so powerful and has a lot of options in his batting," McCullum told the tournament website. "He is a very intelligent cricketer as well. I enjoy how wise a head he has about his game. He has certainly shown his experience in this format of the game. We seem to have a good rapport and get a good partnership going. We are pretty lucky that both of us hit the ball and hit it in different areas. I saw a comment from our captain earlier in the week when he said that Smith and I don't compete against each other but we complement each other, which is nice to have in an opening partnership."

McCullum said that the team management also had a role to play in the pair's success. "The captain and the coach have complemented our abilities to play our games. They don't want us to be too aggressive, but just play the style of cricket which has got us to where we are in world cricket at the moment. It is always nice to get a leadership team like that to give the confidence to go out and play. What we have seen are reasonably aggressive starts from us, which are in character with how we are as players. We are not trying to be what we are not; we are just trying to play our natural game."

Modified action helping Mohit
Mohit Sharma has tweaked his action on the advice of India bowling coach Joe Dawes and that has helped him increase his speed, according to his coach Vijay Yadav. Mohit has taken eight wickets at an economy-rate of 6.69 so far in the IPL and is behind only Sunil Narine at the moment.

"He has made a slight technical change," Yadav, also a former India wicketkeeper, told Mail Today. "His hand used to go back a little more and because of that his body used to form a big arch. But now that arch has been reduced a bit, after his ankle injury, and due to this the load on his back is also less. Mohit told me he is more comfortable now and in the IPL I have noticed that his speed has also improved."

Vijay targets consistency
M Vijay wants to be more consistent with his batting. The Delhi Daredevils opener had an underwhelming start to the season before he made 52 against Sunrisers Hyderabad and 40 against Mumbai Indians. "I am working on that aspect," Vijay said. "As far as my batting is concerned, I have been batting well. Once I get consistency in my batting, I will get going. I have been batting pretty well in the domestic season and have been hitting the ball really well. I just want to carry forward my good form to this IPL season."

Vijay said he should have finished the chase of 126 against Mumbai Indians after leading his side to 79 for 1. "I should have won the match from there. There was no pressure on the team and on myself. I knew the batsmen coming in would find it difficult. I will try and finish the next game for the Daredevils."

Parnell waits for his opportunity
Wayne Parnell, the Delhi Daredevils fast bowler, has said his time away from the South Africa side has taught him to be patient and capitalise when he gets the opportunity. Parnell made his Test debut in early 2010 but had to wait another four years for his next match in the longest format. "Over the last 12 to 16 months, after being out of the national team, I went back to domestic cricket and put up some decent performances to get back into the South African side," Parnell said. "I have also learnt to wait for my chances and do well for the team when I do get a chance. You have the likes of Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn in the pace attack for South Africa, and for me as a young guy, I have to hang in there and perform well when I am required."