It has been a cracker of a week in the initial phase of IPL V. The teams are still settling down and calculating permutations for the next few weeks. The crowds are thronging the stadiums, the venues are abuzz and it is surely the most pleasing sight for all.
Pune play their second away match in Mohali against the Kings XI, who are strong opponents on their day. We are playing on Yuvraj Singh's home ground. Yuvi is back after prolonged treatment abroad and I wish him good health. A lot of people are speculating about his return to the cricket field, but my suggestion would be that he should monitor his health first. There is no hurry to return because he is young and will have enough time to don India colours again.
This IPL might see more intriguing competition and nothing much should be read into the initial days. There will be points gained and lost, just the way it happens in a long league, where away and home matches are treated as per the situation. The Knight Riders and Delhi Daredevils got two good wins on the last day of the first week. Gautam Gambhir led from the front and it was an important away win for KKR. Delhi's big foreign recruits have arrived. David Warner is still awaited but Kevin Pietersen and Mahela Jayawardene were straight away on song to get their team past the Super Kings.
Mohali brings back fond memories of my days with the national side. It was here that I scored my last Test hundred against Australia in my retirement series. Many good knocks have been played on this surface, many great victories achieved. People in this part of the country love their cricket and are passionate about their favourite cricketers. The Mohali wicket is one which always has a bit for the batters and bowlers, a wicket where one would love to play fearless cricket. It will be interesting to find out how the wicket shapes up and whether there is any effect of dew. We have won our first two games but there is still a long way to go. It's a long tournament which will intensify as the days go by. The young Pune team will have got more confident after the first two matches. We have been joined by Angelo Mathews, who should be an important cog in the team.
The intensity on the ground has been good for us till now. It's good to see the way Robin Uthappa, Marlon Samuels and Steve Smith are shaping up in the batting unit. It was also nice to see Ashish Nehra running in hard along with Ashok Dinda.
The writer is PWI captain. 360 Corporate Relations