The new season of the Indian Premier League has kicked off with great fanfare and new challenges and responsibilities, in the shape of two new teams, await us. Sitting here in Chennai for the opening ceremony, I am excited to start the tournament on a good note. The Pune Warriors are a new side and will definitely add the element of surprise in the tournament.
The last few days have been very hectic, full of celebrations and rightly so. What we achieved as a group is simply unbelievable and the entire nation is proud of the achievement. As for me, it's been one of the best times of my life. It feels even more special as it has come after a long year of injury and bad form.Big support
By the grace of God, just when it mattered the most, my game got going. Here, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to everyone who backed me in my tough times and never lost hope in me.Their support was inspirational and forced me to push myself a little extra.
Apart from my parents and close friends, I am extremely thankful to the owners of Pune Warriors for giving me this big responsibility and showing faith in me.
Their management’s decision to back me as captain gave me a lot of confidence and this came at a time when I was keen on hearing something positive about myself. In a nutshell, I would be beginning this year's IPL in a much better frame of mind than the previous one.
Now, it is my team-mates and my turn to live up to their faith and take the Pune Warriors forward. This is the time to get the focus back and concentrate on the job at hand. When I look around my dressing room, I get a lot of positive vibes and assurances. We have the right mix of experience and youth to keep us in good shape. We have veteran Graeme Smith in our ranks and I am sure I would need his advice and help a lot.
Players such as Jesse Ryder, Robin Uthappa, Tim Paine, Manish Pandey, Murali Kartik, Wayne Parnell and Nathan McCullum need no introductions. Injuries to Nehra and Angelo Mathews are the few hiccups, but I am sure they will join the party soon. This is an opportunity for me to show my leadership skills and see how I can extract the best out of the group.
KXIP a good team
Our first game is against my old team Kings XI Punjab, where I hardly find any of my old team-mates apart from Piyush Chawla and Preity Zinta. But holistically, they look a good team with some impact players in their line-up. Without underestimating our opponents, Pune Warriors are all set to entertain the nation and play some good cricket. And, if we do our best on the field, I am sure the results will follow.