“Last year was a learning experience. This year, I am learning from my previous experience,” said John Buchanan, coach of the IPL Kolkata team at the end of the first day of the trials at Eden Gardens on Monday. Significant were his words as team officials revealed major overhauling plans to bring about the “best possible blend” in the team.
Team director Joy Bhattacharya put to rest speculations about the involvement of Pakistan players in the forthcoming Indian Premier League when he declared that Shoaib Akhtar would be offloaded in the transfer window. “He is up for trade. It’s a long process. Let’s wait and see what happens,” he said. “We can’t have both (Umar) Gul and Shoaib in the team,” was Buchanan’s explanation. The commencement of the three-day trials saw almost 40 players from all over India take part. Fresh blood Saurabh Bandekar, Sunny Singh as well as regulars like Laxmi Ratan Shukla and Wriddhiman Saha took part in proceedings. Sanjay Bangar — who played for the Hyderabad team last year — was the surprise package, seen sweating it out with the juniors.
“Sanjay had a one-year contract with Hyderabad. He is now a free player. So he came to us and displayed his skills,” said Bhattacharya. Bucha-nan was satisfied with the first day of the camp. “I am really pleased with the quality of players. some might be included in the team.”