Every cricketing convention has been turned on its head since the cricket board launched the cash-rich Indian Premier League six years ago. Closest of friends have turned foes and the greatest of rivals have not thought for a second before forging strong bonds of friendship for the sake of this league.
These changed notions of the game will again be on full display when the hosts Sunrisers Hyderabad lock horns with Pune Warriors on Friday. Whoever wins, a Sri Lankan will be smiling as the new outfit will be led by Kumar Sangakkara while new Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews was appointed to lead Warriors after Michael Clarke pulled out due to injury.
The game will also see mentors ranged on opposite sides. All-rounder Mathews will be looking to go one better than his senior and former national captain, Sangakkara. That will also be the case when South Africa speedster Dale Steyn leads Sunrisers' pace attack and tries to finish ahead of the rival pack coached by former Proteas stalwart Allan Donald, Pune's coach.
The IPL is all about new bonding, irrespective of nationality, and Sunrisers coach Tom Moody summed it up. "We are very comfortable going into our first challenge. The exciting thing for me is having Waqar as bowling coach.
It is not only the domestic players but Dale Steyn is also excited to work with him. If we can create a learning environment where even the best fast bowler in the world is prepared to sit in the class room and be a part of the learning environment it is very good," he said.