Ricky Ponting in Mumbai camp
Ricky Ponting, the former Australia captain, has joined the Mumbai Indians in an "advisory role". Ponting was a part of the Mumbai team that won the IPL last year, and he had even led the side in a few matches before the current captain Rohit Sharma took over.
"I am looking forward to working with Mumbai Indians once again," Ponting said."I had a fantastic season last summer and understand how passionate our players are towards the franchise. I believe we have the fire in us and we will strive hard to put our best."
Ponting will be with Mumbai for their last two matches in the UAE.
Bookies barred from venues
A list of bookies has been forwarded to the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) by the IPL governing council to ensure the suspects are kept out of the venues and from the team hotels. Not that the bookies need to operate from a particular location but even the UAE government has taken steps to deny visas to people on the list who are wanting to travel to the country.
"We've given them a list of bookies and the cooperation from the UAE cricket board and government has been excellent. Sheikh Nahyan has been very helpful in ensuring smooth conduct and success of the IPL. We're immensely thankful to him," Ranjib Biswal, the chairman of the IPL Governing Council, was quoted in the Mirror.
Johnson, the leader
After a dream run over the last twelve months starting with the Mumbai Indians' triumphant IPL 2013 campaign, Mitchell Johnson has returned to the Twenty20 league as one of the senior players in the Kings XI Punjab line-up. And Johnson had been preparing for the leadership role in his new franchise even before he joined the team.
"Yes, that is something I had thought about doing before coming here and I spoke to the team about taking up that role as a senior international player. These young guys coming through are willing to learn and are very good listeners," Johnson told iplt20.com. "I remember what I was like when I was their age - you look up to the senior guys for a bit of advice. Sandeep (Sharma) went for a couple of boundaries in his last over (18th of the innings) and I told him, 'Just keep sticking to your guns' because that's how you learn to overcome situations. If I can keep helping the young guys, we will keep winning like this."
With four wins in as many games, Kings XI Punjab have emerged as the team to beat in the initial phase of the IPL's seventh edition. The results haven't surprised Johnson. "I remember sitting around with the Australian team on our tour to South Africa, watching the IPL auction. When it came to an end, I actually said that this seems like a very well-balanced and all-round side. It seems to be going on that way for us at the moment," he said. "We've had some very good wins and tonight's was one of the better ones. On that Abu Dhabi wicket, I think we pretty much got a par score and it was always going to be tough batting second on it. We've been sticking to our guns and have been going really well."
Maxwell's energy infectious
Virender Sehwag has been considered as one with the most positive impact in all the dressing rooms he has been a part of. But when it comes to the Kings XI Punjab set-up, Sehwag feels Glenn Maxwell takes the cake as far as the positive impact is concerned.
"It is great to have Maxwell with us in the team. After the match, he forgets what he did on the field, and is very humble," Sehwag told the Times of India. "His positive energy is infectious, and he loves to play golf and goof around. It's a great atmosphere in the dressing room with Maxwell being there.
With 294 runs in four innings, Maxwell has emerged as the story of the tournament. His scores of 95, 89 and 95 in Kings XI Punjab's first three matches helped the team from Mohali cruise past their opponents and top the points table. Even though Maxwell perished for 15 against Kolkata Knight Riders, the Kings continued their winning run thanks to an all-round bowling effort.