Face off? No way!
Yenn area, which means my area, is the sum total of the Tamil I have learnt after becoming part of the Chennai Super Kings. However, our first game will not be in yenn area, and we will be playing a very impressive line-up from the Kings XI Punjab in Mohali. It's been a pleasure to be a part of the same side as Yuvraj, but this is not the first time I will play against him. We have been opponents at the under-19 and Duleep Trophy level, but it's been a long time since we have played against each other.
I know Friday's game was being seen as Sourav versus Rahul and Saturday's game being spoken of as Dhoni versus Yuvraj, but at the end of the day it will be teams who will take each other on, and not just a couple of individuals.
That's just fodder for advertisers to whip up excitement before a game, and does not translate into actual rivalry. Fortunately, I am not a bowler otherwise the hype on the 'Dhoni-Yuvi face-off' would have shot through the roof! Yuvraj is an aggressive cricketer, and I know that he will come hard at my team, but that's the charm of this format since it pits you against your teammates and teams you up with your opponents. I have been meeting Yuvraj quite a few times since Thursday, and there have been no cold vibes between us.
In fact, we are flying out on a chartered flight on Friday night to join our teams in Chandigarh. The rest of the Mohali and Chennai teams are already in Mohali practicing hard, while we have been attending various briefings and ceremonies. A significant part of the briefing was a re-affirmation of the Spirit of Cricket Pledge and a declaration that the tournament will be a no-sledge zone. None of this is new to the captains or the rest of the players, but it was done to ensure that we have a trouble-free tournament.
Like the Super Kings, Mohali might also be without a couple of their overseas players. Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara have arrived but late and I’m not sure if they will play Saturday's game, as also Ramnaresh Sarwan.
We have pretty much our entire squad for the game, but will face similar problems in May, when a couple of our players will leave. Therefore, like I said in my first article, it's important for Chennai to start off well when we have the full strength at our disposal. The Mohali wicket has always had a lot of bounce and pace, and it will be interesting to see how we face Lee and Sreesanth.
The mood in Bangalore is really electric. Sadly, I will miss the first encounter between the Knight Riders and Royal Challengers, because Yuvraj and I will have to rush off once the opening ceremony is over.