Spinner Sunil Narine has been key to Kolkata Knight Rider’s success over the past few seasons and captain Gautam Gambhir yesterday said he is hoping the Trinidadian is still as potent as before after remodelling his bowling action. The 27-year-old West Indian pulled out of the World T20 saying he was still having difficulty in bowling with his new action after being sanctioned by the ICC for bowling with a suspect action.
He was in the city last week practising, but had to fly back to his country after his father’s death. “I am told that he is more effective and dangerous now. I am hoping that the fizz is still there,” Gambhir was quoted as saying.
The captain who led his side to two Indian Premier League (IPL) triumphs in 2012 and 2014 is also not worried about the fact that only Manish Pandey and Umesh Yadav have featured in national colours recently. He feels the likes of Yusuf Pathan and Robin Uthappa can be trusted upon to do the job again this season. “These are merely information and count little once the games begin. We have the likes of Robin Uthappa, Yusuf Pathan and Piyush Chawla who are experienced despite not being in the Indian team for some time. Apart from that we have young cricketers like Surya Kumar Yadav, Kuldeep (Yadav) and many others. I am not too worried about all this as I think my team has it in them to sail through,” said the Delhi born cricketer.
The Knights will play six back-to-back away games due to the Assembly Elections in West Bengal. Asked if it would be a problem, Gambhir quipped, “I don’t think so because as winners I’d like my team to be tested under all conditions. It is all very well to perform at home but the real challenge is to be in alien conditions and do well. It’s so much fun when you win despite not being favourites.”
KKR will also have the West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell within their ranks, who recently tasted success after winning the World Twenty20. When questioned if KKR expects from fireworks from the hard-hitting Jamaican, the skipper said, “He was brilliant and I was praying that he will get out against India but he didn’t. There is a method to his madness and I am confident he will continue the same form for us too. He is pure gold, a wonderful entertainer.”

Sunrisers’ Yuvraj out of first two weeks of IPL
Yuvraj Singh is set to miss at least the first two weeks of IPL 2016 as he continues to recover from an ankle injury that ruled him out of the World T20 on March 30.
“Sadly, Yuvraj will be out for a couple of weeks but we don’t know how long that is going to be,” his coach at Sunrisers Hyderabad Tom Moody told iplt20.com .
“A player like Yuvraj Singh is important to any team. He is not only a match-winner with the bat, but he is a very useful bowler in those middle overs. Going into the auction, we were aware that we needed to strengthen our middle order. Hence, we targeted players like Yuvraj and Deepak Hooda to give us that depth in our middle order and they complement what we already have in our squad.
“What we are aware of this year is building a great depth and strength in our squad and by securing people like Aditya Tare, Tirumalasetti Suman who has had a lot of IPL experience in the past, we feel that we have got that depth of talent to be able to cover for any circumstance and Yuvraj’s absence is one of them. With Yuvraj being injured at this stage, you don’t know what is around the corner - you need that depth in the squad.”
Moody, who has been at the helm since Sunrisers came into the IPL fold in 2013, believes the team isn’t far off from producing their best result in the tournament. The team secured a playoff berth in their inaugural season, but ended sixth in two subsequent seasons. Last year, Sunrisers needed one win from their last two games to secure a berth in the playoffs, but lost both games, one of which was a truncated affair against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
This time around, Sunrisers have strengthened their pace attack with a lot of left-arm seam options in Ashish Nehra, Mustafizur Rahman and Barinder Sran to complement Trent Boult. “Yes, we were keen to have some left-arm options in our pace attack and we also felt that in shorter form of cricket they are effective,” Moody reasoned.  

HC allows inaugural IPL match in Mumbai tomorrow
The Bombay High Court yesterday permitted the inaugural Indian Premier League (IPL) match between Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiants to be held at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai tomorrow as scheduled.
A decision on the remaining 19 matches scheduled in Maharashtra has been kept pending while the matter has been posted for further hearing on April 12.
The high court ruling came on a PIL challenging the staging of IPL matches in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur on grounds of acute water crisis in the state.