This is the third season of the Indian Premier League and it makes one wonder how time flies.
We are ready to play the first game of the new season and the boys are all geared up, mentally and physically. The first game of a tournament is always crucial and we are raring to make a potent start.
We face last year’s winners, Deccan Chargers, in our first match. Though they are the defending champions, they will have to start from scratch like any other team.
That’s because, in T20 format, you have no favourites. No one can say that they will just walk out and maintain their winning streak.
The four overseas cricketers for the Chargers are Andrew Symonds, Herschelle Gibbs, Chaminda Vaas and skipper Adam Gilchrist. Some firepower in that line-up!
Gilli and company must be happy that they are playing their home matches away from Hyderabad, as they have a horrible record at home.
Of the nine matches they played at home, they couldn’t win any. Had they been playing there this year too, this would have played on their minds. Maybe, the change of ‘home’ will bring better luck to Gilchrist & Co.
The DY Patil Stadium is a treat for the eyes. I was pleasantly surprised by the first look of it and was astonished when I was informed that a university owned it. It qualifies to be one of the best cricket stadia in the world.
I am sure the atmosphere at the stadium during our first game will be electrifying. The wicket has been newly laid; the person in-charge of the 22 yards is a former international and one-time colleague, Abey Kuruvilla. I am sure he will provide us with a good wicket --- having just the right kind of bounce and carry --- to facilitate both fast bowlers and stroke-makers.
T20 is generally considered to be a feast of runs, with nothing much for the bowlers. A good 22 yards, with even pace and bounce, at times evens out the contest.
The first look of the pitch indicates that there will be nothing for the spinners.
We do have bowlers who can exploit any given condition. There is a group of fast bowlers, who I am sure, will generate pace on any sort of wicket. As a captain, I am looking up to them to provide early breakthroughs.
We have really prepared well for this year’s tournament. We not only practiced all year round, but also proceeded carefully and cautiously in spotting a few talented Indian youngsters.
Much effort has gone in polishing them and I am really looking forward to the Indian players to deliver.
The likes of Manoj Tiwary, Cheteshwar Pujara, Wriddhiman Saha, Ishant Sharma, Ashok Dinda and Murali Kartik have a fantastic platform to perform. They can showcase their talent, put across to the selectors how good they are and make a name --- as well as a career --- for themselves.