IPL Extras: After winning with Sachin, Rishi eys IPL double with Viru
Sharing the dressing room with Sachin Tendulkar is a memory that Rishi Dhawan will cherish all his life. Now, the young Himachal Pradesh all-rounder is confident he will have an equally great time playing alongside Virender Sehwag for Kings XI Punjab this season.
"What do I say about Sachin paaji. It was special to spend time with him. The IPL-winning moments with him will stay with me forever. He used to point out all my faults at the nets and I became a better player as the tournament went on. Now it is great to play with Viru paaji," Dhawan said, while recollecting his stint with Mumbai Indians, who won the IPL last season.
The 24-year-old was bought for Rs three crore at the back of a solid showing in the Ranji Trophy, where he was the highest wicket-taker besides scoring 450 runs.
He said his focus this IPL is to perform his dual role so well that he gets a shot at being the seaming all-rounder India is looking for a long time.
The expectations have increased from the lad from Mandi after he did well in the recent domestic T20 games in Mohali.
"There is no point putting pressure on myself ahead of the IPL. It has been a good time for me and my family since the auction. I am not really distracted by the attention and the focus is on playing good cricket. Hopefully, it will get me into the Indian team," Dhawan said.
Getting into the national team like any u-and-coming player is the ultimate dream for Dhawan, who can realise it rather quickly given that India are still unable to find a seaming all-rounder for the long run.
Stuart Binny could not do much in the recent chances he got while Irfan Pathan has been out of the team owing to form and fitness.
"I am trying the best I can irrespective of the level I am playing at. It now depends on the selectors, when they think of giving me the opportunity."
Asked about his role, the shy cricketer said: "I see myself more as a batting all-rounder. Every match I play I make sure I give equal attention to both batting and bowling."
Dhawan took to the game at a tender age of 13 and was mostly confined to the pleasant environs of Himachal Pradesh's third largest city. A decade later, the little-known all-rounder has become the latest millionaire in Indian cricket. Ask him about the journey and he prefers to credit it all to the almighty.
"God has been kind. I don't know what I will do with the money. I was hooked on to the TV in Amritsar where I was watching the auction. Everyone was really happy with the news."
Image: Rishi Dhawan (centre) celebrates with Mumbai Indian team mates
'Kolkata Knight Riders can create magic'
Renowned adventurer and explorer Mike Horn shared his life experiences with Kolkata Knight Riders as part of their build-up for the upcoming Indian Premier League and said the team is capable of creating magic this season.
"I find working with KKR really relaxing. The surrounding is much more relaxed than the other teams I've worked with before. I think the coach understands the players and he's got confidence in the players," Horn, who has earlier worked with the Indian cricket team and the South African side, said after a meeting with the KKR players.
Horn joined the Kolkata Knight Riders’ camp in the UAE, where the first leg of the event is to be held from April 16 to 30, said the players have it in them to win the trophy.
"I think the selection of the players was very well done and there was a lot of research in who they wanted to play for the team and that makes it a very well balanced team. With a well balanced team a magic it creates where they become friends and just being with them for a couple of days now I can see how the players are slowly but truly integrating into each other," he said.
"Whereas with other teams I have worked before, players kept their distance, there was a lot more pressure put on the players. In this team I think the success would be the pressure it releases from the players and the players can play with much more freedom," he added.
Horn said KKR is a talented outfit.
"This is what makes me a fighter because being in IPL for a while now and seeing how the teams have evolved and it's not always the big name that makes the best team it's the best team that makes it the best team and the winning team," he said.
"So I think KKR is going to be a team that really people might question on the paper but is actually full of a lot of talent," he added.
Image: Mike Horn
Photographs: Elisabetta Villa/Getty Images for Officine Panerai
Prasad bats for more Indian coaches in IPL
Saying that Indians are second to none, former pacer Venkatesh Prasad has advocated having more Indian coaches in the Indian Premier League set-up.
Out of eight IPL teams, only Kings XI Punjab have an Indian head coach in Sanjay Bangar.
"It is an Indian Premier League. It is good to have a mix of foreign coaches, foreign players, because you are definitely going to improve your knowledge of the game, but it is not that all foreigners are knowledgeable.
"Please let us not go by that. I think that is something which people need to understand," said the 44-year-old former bowler, who guided Uttar Pradesh to the final of the Syed Mushtaq Ali All T20 event.
"I have seen so many players who are better than the foreign players. So many coaches in India who are better than the foreign coaches, who are part of the IPL set-up now," added the Bangalore-born Prasad, who played 33 Tests and 161 ODIs for the country between 1996 and 2001.
Prasad, who had been associated with the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Chennai Super Kings as bowling coach in the past, is not part of any IPL franchise this year and he termed it as 'disappointing'.
"It is disappointing in a way because it is something that I feel every franchise needs to look at - having Indian coaches as part of their team management - for a simple reason that only four foreign players can play in the 11 and the remaining other seven are Indians," he said.
Prasad said the break from his vocation will help him analyse things from outside that he hoped would stand him in good stead next year.
"It is disappointing to miss out but there is always a learning (process). It is always good to step back and then look at the scenario from outside and then learn a few more things, so that you are better as a coach and better as a person when you start doing this, hopefully from the next year onwards," he said.
"I am going to be part of the media and keep watching games and keep analysing them. I would be able to watch and analyse the games and obviously learn a few things by doing those. So, I hope to increase my knowledge," the former Karnataka player added.
Image: Venkatesh Prasad
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters