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Bangalore, Kolkata sides gear up for IPL show-opener
April 18, 2008 13:13 IST
Rahul Dravid [Images] and Sourav Ganguly [Images] are waiting anxiously to see how the city-based concept fares when the Bangalore Royal Challengers and Kolkata Knight Riders lock horns in the lung-opener of the multi-million dollar Indian Premier League in Bangalore on Friday.
Both Dravid and Ganguly, leading the Bangalore and Kolkata outfits respectively, are also new to the Twenty20 format of cricket and are understandably circumspect while commenting on the much-hyped tournament.
"It's a new concept. There will be a stiff competition in this event which has created a big hype with so much buzz around. It will no doubt bring in some freshness into the sport," said Dravid.
"It's fast paced and entertaining. But once the game starts the focus will only be on cricket," he added.
Dravid is waiting to see whether the Indian fans will accept the city-based rivalry with open arms.
"The city concept has not been tried in the game in this country. It's also nice to play along with different players with different cultures in your team," he said.
Dravid's opposite number Ganguly admitted that he could not figure out who is the favourite among the cities because of the nature of the Twenty20 contest.
"There is no clear favourite in the shortest version of the game. Difference between teams lessens in the Twenty20 format as the contest is too short.
"I consider this event as a contest between state sides with world-class players," he said.
On the presence of Ricky Ponting [Images] in his side, Ganguly said the Australian captain is ready for the challenge.
"The bigger the names in this league bigger are the responsibilities. Ponting's reputation is at stake now. And he is ready for this form of the game."
Ganguly said he is unsure as to when West Indies [Images] batsman Chris Gayle will join the Kolkata team, but asserted that his team has enough bench strength.
While getting ready to prove their mettle in the shortest format of the game, both Dravid and Ganguly believe that the growing popularity of Twenty20 would not affect Test cricket.
"This T20 format of the game will not affect Test cricket in any way, as many are fearing about the real cream of the game," Ganguly said.
Agreeing with Ganguly, Dravid is also equally convinced about the future of the five-day format.
"This shortest version of the game will no away affect Test cricket," he said.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Rahul Dravid (captain), Anil Kumble [Images], Jacques Kallis [Images], Zaheer Khan [Images], Misbah-ul-Haq, Dale Steyn, Shivnarine Chanderpaul [Images], Mark Boucher [Images] (w/k), Ross Taylor, Praveen Kumar, Cameron White, Ashley Noffke, Wasim Jaffer [Images], Sunil Joshi, Bharat Chipli, Shreevats Goswami, Abdur Razzak, R Vinay Kumar, Virat Kohli, Balachandra Akhil, KP Appanna, J Arunkumar, Devraj Patil. Coach: Venkatesh Prasad.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Sourav Ganguly (captain), Ricky Ponting, Brendon McCullum (w/k), Ishant Sharma, Chris Gayle, Umar Gul, Salman Butt [Images], David Hussey, Ajit Agarkar [Images], Tatenda Taibu (w/k), Mohammad Hafeez [Images], Cheteshwar Pujara, Yashpal Singh, Aakash Chopra, Iqbal Abdulla, Murali Kartik [Images], Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Saurasish Lahiri, Prasanta Saha, Debabrata Das, Siddarth Kaul, Rohan Banerjee. Coach: John Buchanan.