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Hoping for ideal house-warming

For the first time in three editions of the IPL played in the country, the Mumbai Indians did not start their campaign at the Wankhede Stadium. Amol Karhadkar reports.

cricket Updated: Apr 15, 2011 02:23 IST
Amol Karhadkar

For the first time in three editions of the IPL played in the country, the Mumbai Indians did not start their campaign at the Wankhede Stadium.

However, as Sachin Tendulkar's boys arrived at the refurbished stadium on the eve of their third game of IPL-4, they wouldn't have been bothered by starting their campaign away from home. After all, they've thrashed the Delhi Daredevils and Royal Challengers Bangalore to get off to a rocking start.

No wonder, the players were in a joyous mood as they entered the ground on the eve of their face-off against newcomers Kochi Tuskers Kerala.

Intentional ploy
If that wasn't a surprise, it was startling to see Kieron Pollard start the batting session at the nets. As mentor, Shaun Pollock, later confirmed, it was an intentional ploy to give a chance to those who haven't had a look in with the bat.

During the two comprehensive victories, only the top four — Sachin Tendulkar, Davey Jacobs, Ambati Rayudu and Rohit — have had a stint at the crease.

Though it augurs well for the team, it also means that the middle and lower-middle order is short on match practice. To take care of that aspect, Pollard batted for almost as long as the duration of a Twenty20 innings.

Another positive to emerge out of the extended session was the fitness of Andrew Symonds.

Thanks to the niggle, which he picked up ahead of this cash-rich tournament, the Australian all-rounder had to warm the benches for the first two matches.

However, with the kind of form he looked in on Thursday evening, it will not be a surprise if Symonds replaces James Franklin on Friday.