Despite the setbacks posed by a spate of injuries (Sachin Tendulkar, Munaf Patel, and Rohit Sharma), Kieron Pollard remained bullish about Mumbai Indians going the distance in the Champions league, at a media conference here on Wednesday.
“I joined the team a couple of days ago, but the boys have been preparing at camps in Baroda and Bangalore. We are looking forward to some competitive matches.”
The talismanic all-rounder said Sachin was “a big piece of the puzzle”, but was optimistic that younger players would step up to the plate in the maestro's absence. “Sachin has passed on his knowledge to other players. The guys have learnt a lot from him and hopefully will do well.”
When quizzed about Chennai's ‘home-advantage', the 24-year-old chose to play it down.
“Obviously, it is their home ground and so, it is advantage for them. We go there as 11 versus 11 — whoever plays better come out as winner.”
Pollard also affirmed that Harbhajan was fit and motivated to perform well. To a poser on what prompted him to choose Mumbai over the other teams that had qualified for the tournament (he was eligible to represent Somerset and South Australia besides Mumbai), Pollard paused for a while before he said: “I am here to play for Mumbai Indians.”
Meanwhile, the Mumbai Indians team management confirmed that it was “holding discussions” before naming its captain. The official announcement, it is learnt, will be made on Thursday.
Primed to perform
Earlier, Wriddhiman Saha expressed confidence that Chennai Super Kings (CSK) was primed to put its best foot forward. He also dismissed concerns about too much cricket hampering the team's performance.
“They are all professionals and they know how to jumble. They work very hard and play their natural game,” said the 26-year-old who was part of the Indian squad in the Test series against England recently.
With the defending champion playing all its matches in Chennai, Saha, in contrast to Pollard, believes home-advantage will be crucial. “We have won all the matches here [in this year's IPL] and this is a good opportunity for us to keep the momentum going.”
The CSK team management confirmed that a replacement for the injured Tim Southee hadn't been named yet and a “final call” would be taken after the arrival of skipper M.S. Dhoni.
While Michael Hussey and Suraj Randiv were expected to join the team on Wednesday night, Suresh Raina was set to arrive on Thursday.