Not playing the IPL in India this year will be disappointing but in the end I feel the right decision was made. It has been a big shift but given the enthusiasm they showed for Thursday's carnival, it can be said that the South African public has already shown great interest in the tournament. Who knows, this can even become an international event played in different countries around the world!
I don't think there will be much difference in how we play as opposed to playing in India. Of course, it is much cooler here, about 20 degrees, so that will be good from the comfort point of view. The grounds are smaller here so expect fireworks though time will tell whether the magnificence of Brendon McCullum, Sanath Jayasuriya and Adam Gilchrist will be bettered.
This year I am back as coach though it is possible that I may take a few turns at the wicket myself! Coaching such a talented bunch is a challenge I look forward to. I have a well-balanced, skilful side and one of the best captains in the world in Dhoni.
The players too are some of the best in the world; strong and dynamic like Matthew Hayden and Andrew Flintoff. Jacob Oram has recovered from injury and is fit after playing a little cricket back home. It is also good to have another all-rounder to back up Albie Morkel and Flintoff. As for Andrew, he is so excited about being involved with the IPL for the first time. And who can forget Muralitharan? He was down with fever a couple of days ago but is back to his chatty, cheeky self and is raring to go!
We start against the Mumbai Indians on Saturday at Newlands and even though they finished fifth last year, we cannot underestimate them. Not with premier players like Sachin Tendulkar, Sanath Jayasuriya, Harbhajan, Zaheer and Malinga in their side. And this time we hope to go one step further and return to Chennai next year as the champions. (Gameplan)