No games in Jaipur for Rajasthan Royals
The Rajasthan Royals will play all their home games of the 2013 IPL in Gujarat instead of Jaipur, their original home city. The decision to move the matches from Jaipur to Rajkot and Ahmedabad was taken after an IPL governing council meeting on Monday in Chennai.
Following a dispute between the Rajasthan Cricket Association and the state sports council, the Sawai Man Singh Stadium in Jaipur has been unavailable for the RCA for almost a year.
Since the dispute could not be resolved, the governing council, in its previous meeting on January 23 had placed Ahmedabad and Rajkot on standby for hosting the Royals' home games. The governing council meeting confirmed allocating four games each to the Sardar Patel Gujarat Stadium in Ahmedabad and the Saurashtra Cricket Association stadium in Rajkot.
Royals have used Jaipur as their base in each of the five years since the IPL was launched in 2008.
At any rate, the significance of home advantage might be reduced following instructions - after a meeting between the curators of various state associations and BCCI officials - regarding the state of pitches in IPL 2013.* "Clear instructions have been handed out to the curators, that they should prepare sporting wickets and should not listen to any requests from the franchises," a member of a state association was quoted as saying by PTI. "The franchise owners have also been apprised that they should not put any type of pressure on the curators to prepare wickets of their choice."
Chennai Super Kings sign five uncapped bowlers
In a continuation of their auction strategy, Chennai Super Kings have beefed up their bowling department further by signing five Indian uncapped bowlers. The players are UP fast bowlers Imtiaz Ahmed and Ankit Rajpoot, Haryana quick Mohit Sharma, Karnataka pacer Ronit More and Tamil Nadu left-arm spinner R Karthikeyan.
Imtiaz is the most experienced of the lot with 15 first-class matches to his name. In the Ranji Trophy this season, Imtiaz was the leading wicket-taker from Uttar Pradesh taking 37 from nine matches at an average of 25.45, including three five-wicket hauls. He was with the Pune Warriors in IPL 2011 but did not get a game.
His UP team-mate Rajpoot made his first-class debut this season against Karnataka in the Ranji Trophy and collected 31 wickets from seven matches at an average of 18.80. He has not played limited-overs domestic matches so far.
Mohit played eight Ranji matches this season, taking 37 wickets, averaging 23.24 runs per wicket. Mohit has also played six List A matches, the last one being a warm-up match against England XI in January before the five-match ODI series. He took two wickets in the match, of Ian Bell and Craig Kieswetter, in eight overs.
More made his first-class debut this season playing two matches, and also has seven List A and one domestic Twenty20 to his name. The lone spinner among the new signings, Karthikeyan, plays for TI Cycles in the first division league of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association.
Stephen Fleming, Super Kings' coach, had said two days before the auction that the team would focus on local seam bowling options. At the auction on Sunday, Super Kings bought three quicks - Dirk Nannes, Ben Laughlin and Jason Holder, allrounder Chris Morris and spinner Akila Dananjaya.
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Aaron Finch signs for Pune Warriors
Australia batsman Aaron Finch has signed
for Pune Warriors for the sixth IPL season
following Michael Clarke's withdrawal with
a back injury. Finch, another top-order
batsman, tweeted the development and is
expected to leave for India on Saturday.
Finch will be joining his third IPL franchise
after playing for Rajasthan Royals in 2010
and Delhi Daredevils in 2011 and 2012. He
was released by Delhi in November 2012
and went unsold in the auction on February
3 at a base price of $200,000.
He represents Melbourne Renegades in the
Big Bash League and averaged 66.40 in
eight matches last season, scoring 332 runs
with a highest score of 111 not out.
However, he scored only 4, 7 and 1 for
Australia in the three T20Is in January
against Sri Lanka and West Indies.
Overall, he has scored 1699 runs in 58
domestic T20 matches at 36.14 with a
strike-rate of 130.49.
The Warriors will be captained by Angelo
Mathews this season.
R U READY . SO IPL WILL START IN FEW DAYS . IN THIS THREAD YO SEE SCORE NEWS OF IPL MATCHES . LIVE ACTION .
Injured Dhawan in doubt for opening IPL games
Shikhar Dhawan is likely to miss at least the
opening match for Sunrisers Hyderabad, as
he recovers from his hand injury sustained
while fielding during the recent Mohali Test
against Australia. Dhawan fractured his left
hand and was ruled out for six weeks,
keeping him out of the fourth Test in Delhi.
Sunrisers play their first game on April 5
against Pune Warriors.
"Shikhar Dhawan at this stage will not be
available for the first game. We are
obviously working closely with the BCCI and
the medical team with regard to his
progress," Sunrisers coach Tom Moody said
before the team's first official training
session in Hyderabad.
"We are hoping that within a couple of
weeks he will be available to join the team."
Dhawan had made history in Mohali, his 187
being the fastest by a debutant in Tests. His
knock opened India's chances for pushing
for a win in a high-scoring game, despite the
opening day being washed out. He hurt his
hand on the fourth day of the Test but
wasn't required to bat during the second
Dhawan was the leading run-scorer for
Deccan Chargers - as it was previously
known before the ownership changed - in the
2012 season, scoring 569 runs with five
fifties. He was one of the few positives in
what was a forgettable campaign for the
team, which finished second from last.
Gambhir ready for title defence
Gautam Gambhir has said that he should be
fit in time to play the first match of the
Indian Premier League against Delhi
Daredevils on April 3. Gambhir, who was
dropped from the Test squad against
Australia for the first two Tests and then
missed out due to a bout of jaundice, had
resumed training and was keen on getting
back into the groove.
"I started out slowly as I hadn't played for
10 days, and the fatigue is still there," he
said in an interview to the Hindustan Times.
"But I should be available for the first
match (April 3). We have a long break after
that, which should give me enough time to
Gambir, who captained Kolkata Knight
Riders to their first IPL title last year and
was the second-highest run-getter in the
season, said that he didn't regret not being
part of the side that beat Australia by a
historic margin of 4-0. "Playing for India is
my biggest motivation, but not the only
one," he said. "As a sportsperson, I want to
keep performing. I hadn't played for Delhi
in a long time, so it felt great to be back.
That we won the Vijay Hazare Trophy after
17-18 years made it doubly special. I just
want to make runs that help my team win. I
don't want to complicate things. I want to
keep my cricket and my life simple by
His lack of match practice going into the
IPL, however, isn't a cause for concern. KKR
coach Trevor Bayliss said that Gambhir and
Jacques Kallis were players who would
prove their experience once the competition
begins. "At the same time, we have a squad
with highly effective players in the middle
order, who can handle the responsibility
they have been entrusted with," Bayliss
Bayliss also admitted there would be
pressure on KKR in the tournament as they
seek to defend their title. "In a way, our
achievements last season do bring in a bit of
extra pressure," Bayliss said in an interview
to the Telegraph. "But at the end of the day,
it's a good feeling to start a competition as
the defending champions. We need to carry
on with the momentum we had gained last
England batsman Eoin Morgan,
Lakshmipathy Balaji and left-arm spinner
Iqbal Abdulla joined the team in Kolkata on
Angelo Mathews named Pune Warriors' captain
Angelo Mathews , the Sri Lanka allrounder,
will lead Pune Warriors in IPL 2013.
Mathews takes over Warriors' captaincy
from Sourav Ganguly, who will not play in
this year's IPL.
The decision to appoint Mathews would
mean Warriors will be without their regular
captain when playing their away game
against Chennai Super Kings, following the
IPL governing council's decision to exclude
Sri Lankan players from matches in Chennai.
He wasn't the first choice captain for
Warriors. However, once Australia captain
Michael Clarke, their preferred choice, was
ruled out of this edition of the tournament
due to a back injury - one that also forced
him to miss the last Test in India - it was
clear that Sri Lanka's Test and ODI leader
would take over.
Mathews thus becomes the fourth captain to
lead Warriors, who open their third IPL
campaign with an away game against
Sunrisers Hyderabad on April 5. While
Yuvraj Singh led the team in their inaugural
season in 2011, Sourav Ganguly and Steven
Smith shared the responsibility in Yuvraj's
absence last year due to illness. This year,
despite Yuvraj having recovered from his
rare germ cell cancer, it was known even
before the auction on February 3 that the
possibility of him leading the team was
remote. "Both him and the owners were
reluctant to have him as the skipper since
Yuvi the allrounder is so much more
important to the balance of the team than
Yuvi the captain," an insider said.
Mathews, in all likelihood, will be one of
three Sri Lankans to captain IPL teams this
year, with Mahela Jayawardene leading Delhi
Daredevils and Kumar Sangakkara in charge
of Sunrisers Hyderabad. The franchises have
already shown concern over the decision to
keep the Sri Lankan players away from the
Chennai games due to political tensions,
saying that Super Kings may subsequently
have an added advantage in their home
Former South Africa quick Allan Donald , who
was initially appointed Warriors' bowling
coach last season, has been named the
franchise's head coach. Former India
batsman, Pravin Amre , will continue in the
role of assistant coach. Trainer Rob
Walters, who had previously worked with
South Africa and Delhi Daredevils, has been
signed as fielding coach and fitness trainer.
Sehwag happy to be among the ranks
Virender Sehwag , dropped recently from
India's Test side, has said his decision to
give up the Delhi Daredevils captaincy
will have no effect on his batting in the
upcoming IPL season. Mahela
Jayawardene was named Daredevils
captain after Sehwag told the franchise
he wanted to focus on his batting ahead
of the Champions League 2012.
"I don't think it matters whether I am
captaining the side or not," Sehwag told
PTI , when asked if Jayawardene taking
over would lessen the burden on him.
"Captaincy has never affected my game.
I have never ever felt the pressure on
my batting while leading the side. I have
never felt any pressure as captain. My
approach to batting has always remained
"I have always maintained that captaincy
and performance are two separate issues
altogether. If you talk about pressures of
captaincy, then I had scored five
consecutive half-centuries [a Twenty20
record] during the last edition of the IPL
and the highest number of runs for Delhi
Sehwag admitted that Daredevils would
feel the absence of England batsman
Kevin Pietersen, who is out of this IPL
with a knee injury. "KP is a big occasion
player and he will certainly be missed
but we have other players who can put
their hands up and be counted. We have
10 quality foreign players and whoever
replaces him in the XI will get an
opportunity to make a name for himself
on the big stage. If they can grab their
chance and prove their worth, we can
win the trophy."
Daredevils meet Kolkata Knight Riders in
the inaugural match of this season in
Kolkata on April 3.
Rahul Dravid has said Rajasthan Royals
will be bolstered by the presence of
Shane Watson , who is expected to join
the team in time for the side's second
game against Kolkata Knight Riders on
"Watson brings a lot of quality to the
team," Dravid told the Times of India .
"Last year, we missed him for the first
eight or nine games. This time, we are
lucky that way. If we can play to our
potential, we should be able to do pretty
well." He also added that Watson may be
promoted to open the innings with
Rajasthan had a poor campaign last year,
finishing seventh in the points table.
Royals coach Paddy Upton was upbeat
about the prospects of the squad in the
IPL this season. "It is essential to work
out a fine balance between team and
individual performance," Upton told the
Hindu . "Our focus is to play at our level
best and deliver top performances
throughout the season. We as a team
provide space to our players to take
their own decisions, judge their
performance, and together we all help
each other to execute these decisions on
field. We try to not only improve the
sporting skills in our players, but also
help and groom their overall
Rajasthan Royals' fast bowler Shaun Tait,
who played in six games last season,
picking up six wickets at 25.16, alluded to
where they had gone wrong, "We were
not up to the mark in the death overs
during the previous season. I enjoy
bowling at the death but plans work out
at times, and some times they don't. I
would again enjoy bowling at death.
"We hope for a top-four finish this time.
We have worked on a few grey areas like
death bowling and have few more
options in attack. The likes of James
Faulkner would lend us more bowling
strength. We have a good relationship
and we mix it up well and help each
Tait, who possesses plenty of pace but
sometimes loses accuracy as a result,
acknowledged that he is working on the
issue. "I know I was erratic at times, but
I have worked on this. My foot was
popping out of the bowling crease, but
recently I had improved in the Big Bash
and Bangladesh Premier league. I plan to
bowl a lot straighter and keep things
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