India legend Anil Kumble says IPL helping youngsters show no fear in international cricket

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Legendary bowler Anil Kumble believes young Indian cricketers should no longer be scared to make their breakthrough into international cricket thanks to their experiences of playing in the IPL.

The 11th edition of the T20 extravaganza begins next month when Mumbai Indians take on Chennai Super Kings on April 7.

The IPL has been the perfect platform for upcoming Indian cricketers to showcase their talent and catch the eye of national selectors.

And former coach Kumble believes the amount of time that youngsters spend together with the top international stars over the six-week tournament bodes well for their development.

“I think the confidence that the current youngsters is something that we did not have at that age,” said Kumble, who was chief guest at the Shyam Bhatia Cricket Awards in Dubai on Thursday.

“For me, the first initiation of the gym to lift weights was after I got injured and that was after nine years of playing international cricket. That kind of start and advantage they get, and thanks to IPL, the youngsters are rubbing shoulders with international cricketers as well.

“They know what their work ethic is, how they prepare and the mindset that have before a game. They will also know the preparation they do, all of that certainly helps. The interactions they have with these legends is fascinating. The intimidation part goes away. Earlier, you would go to Australia once every four years and play them but here every year in the IPL, you’re playing against the same bowlers and batsmen.

“That feeling that you’re facing something different has gone away. That has been the biggest change. That has helped how the Indian cricketers have come together and done what they have been able to.”

The 47-year-old, who is India’s highest Test wicket-taker with 619 scalps, believes the IPL is also having a positive impact for world cricket, saying it cools tension between players from rival nations.

“You get to know the player,” he said. “I think once you know the player, then you know how he would react to a certain situation. The emotions are very different as you’re playing for your country. You’re charged up. The situations can be very different if you’re a team-mate. If you’re a team-mate and you’re playing against each other, then you understand better how he would react and know him as a person.

“That is something that the IPL has done, bringing together all these players for a couple of months, has only helped players understand each other better, learn from each other and possibly interact a lot more in the camp.”

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Kings XI Punjab pick India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin over Yuvraj Singh for IPL captaincy

Sudhir Gupta 26/02/2018
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India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was on Monday named captain of the Kings XI Punjab side for the upcoming IPL edition, a shot in the arm for the spinner who has lost his spot in the national limited-overs side.

Ashwin, 31, is among the leading spinners in Tests across the world but has fallen down the pecking order in India’s limited-overs setup, with Virat Kohli preferring wrist spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. Also, his ‘home’ franchise of Chennai Super Kings did not retain his services for the 11th edition of the T20 league, with Punjab securing his signature instead.

Ashwin had earlier revealed he was disappointed at not being part of the Chennai family. “I was a tad disappointed because I have been there for the last 10 years. Literally, I have owned that space around Chepauk. Every time I came on to bowl, the kind of roaring and cheering I got will always stick on to my head,” Ashwin had said.

But not only has he found a new home in Punjab, he has been named captain of the team. “There is no additional pressure on me as such. I first led my state side in first-class cricket when I was 21. I have done it in the past and I am sure that I will enjoy the challenge,” Ashwin said about his appointment.

Kings XI mentor Virender Sehwag said the management decide to go with Ashwin for the leadership role and not veteran batsman Yuvraj Singh as the spinner suited their long-term plans.

“Most of our fans said Yuvraj Singh was the best choice. But I was looking at someone different. I always thought that a bowler should be made the captain. I am a big fan of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, and Kapil Dev,” Sehwag said.

“I thought a bowler would be the best candidate for captaincy. Yuvraj Singh was there in our minds. But a lot of votes from our support staff and owners went to Ashwin.”

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Australia captain Steve Smith to lead Rajasthan Royals in IPL

Sudhir Gupta 24/02/2018
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Australia captain Steve Smith will lead the Rajasthan Royals in the 2018 Indian Premier League season, the club announced on Saturday.

Smith will join Australian spin legend Shane Warne, who was announced as the team’s mentor earlier this year.

The eight teams in the cash-rich IPL – boosted recently by a new five-year $2.5-billion media deal – spent almost $70 million at an auction for players ahead of the Twenty20 tournament, which runs from April 7 to May 27.

“We came to the conclusion that Steven Smith would be the ideal candidate for the job,” Zubin Bharucha, Rajasthan Royals’ head of cricket, said.

“Smith has been incredible as captain of Australia. He is someone who leads the team by example.”

The Australian skipper, in a statement released by the club, said he was looking forward to leading the team.

“It’s an honour and privilege to be leading (the) Royals and I’m looking forward to working with the King (Shane Warne),” Smith said.

In 2008, Warne captained the Royals to victory in the inaugural season of what is now the world’s most watched domestic T20 league.

The Royals, along with the Chennai Super Kings, were banned for two IPL seasons over an illegal gambling scandal.

They have put together a strong squad ahead of their return for the 2018 season, bagging top names like England all-rounder Ben Stokes at the player auction last month.

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