The Australian revolution appears to have begun in the Mumbai Indians camp with the arrival of new captain Ricky Ponting. Wearing the team's blue colours, the former Aussie skipper made his presence felt during a practice match at the Wankhede on Friday.
He stayed away from action but kept an eye on the youngsters. Before the match, Ponting interacted with his new teammates as well as new coach John Wright and Anil Kumble, the chief mentor. The 38-year-old had played previously played just four matches, for Kolkata Knight Riders in the inaugural season in 2008.
The Australian batting great was bought by MI for his base price of $400,000 this year, but the 2010 runners-up will hope Punter can inspire them to their maiden title.
MI will look at Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar to lend stability and enable the youngsters to flourish and make a strong bid for the title.
On Friday though, the seniors, including Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma and Harbhajan Singh, skipped the game. However, the Australian contingent was there in full strength. Batsman Aiden Blizzard and paceman Nathan Coulter-Nile, both looking to get acclimatised, spent a long time in the middle. With Test squad members Mitchell Johnson and Phil Hughes also in the line-up, an Australian resurrection for the Mumbai Indians seems to be in the offing.
Mumbai open against Royal Challengers in Bangalore on April 4.
Aussies have a lot of work to do: Lee
Kolkata: Brett Lee feels a 0-4 drubbing to India doesn't bode well for the Australia team, especially ahead of the Ashes. “Losing to India by such a margin isn't great for Australian cricket. They haven't played the best cricket and were completely outplayed,” said Lee here on Friday.
Lee, who has been appointed Kolkata Knight Riders bowling mentor after Wasim Akram pulled out of the IPL citing family reasons, said India were better at exploiting the conditions.
“Australia were playing four quicks in a Test while India started with spinners from both ends after tea. I think India used the conditions very well,” said Lee.
Not ready to predict the outcome of the upcoming Ashes, Lee, however, said Australia have to pull up their socks if they hope to compete. "All I can say is that Australia have a lot of work to do," said Lee.
As KKR bowling mentor, Lee is yet to take the plunge completely but he hopes to carry on the good work done by Akram. “I’m still embracing the new role. Of course I'm still bowling but I think it's a great opportunity for me. I will just enjoy the role and try to pass as much to the other players,” said Lee.
With the BCCI stressing on having sporting pitches for the IPL Lee said onus will be on bowlers like L Balaji and Pradeep Sangwan to do well. “We have got a lot of key bowlers for this tournament but I think Jacques Kallis will play a huge role. He is someone who always takes a wicket or two,” said Lee.
Dhawan may miss opening game
Shikhar Dhawan is likely to miss the first game of his franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad as he recovers from his injury.