ICL: Indian Cricket League


Ganguly upbeat about Shoaib’s arrival

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gangulySourav Ganguly is upbeat over Shoaib Akhtar being allowed to play in the Indian Premier League and hopes his struggling side can turn things around quickly.

“He was in our scheme of things initially, and after having had to make do without him in all these games, it’s good to know that he is joining the team,” Ganguly told Hindustan Times.

“Having said that, it’s equally important to realise that no individual can turn things around dramatically. For our team to succeed, everyone has to do well. Many matches are still left to be played and I don’t think any team should be written off at this moment.”

Kolkata have managed just two wins from six games and Shoaib’s arrival would no doubt be a fillip to their preparations for their home match against Bangalore on Thursday. However question marks continue to remain over Shoaib’s fitness and John Bucanan, Kolkata’s coach, has insisted on a fitness test. The team is scheduled to play a practice match on Wednesday and Shoaib’s performance there could decide on his being picked.

Shoaib arrived in Kolkata last night. “I’m really happy to be here and the Eden Gardens is my favourite ground,” he said. “It’s the ground which made my career when I got Sachin Tendulkar out on the first ball. It’s been good to me and I love the ground … The crowd is fantastic.

“As I’ve been under so much of stress, I haven’t been able to train as much as I should have done. But I’m fit. There’s no pain, no niggle. I’ll try to get match fit as fast as possible. Shah Rukh Khan has supported me a lot. He’s been there like a big brother. Has always been so.”

Meanwhile John Buchanan, Kolkata’s coach, said he was approaching Shoaib’s arrival with “an open mind”. “Obviously, Shoaib has a reputation, not only on the field but off it too… There are rules in place and there are ways in which the team has been operating,” he told Kolkata’s Telegraph. “The rules are the same for everybody and there won’t be exceptions, no matter who you are. As long as Shoaib understands what’s in place and abides by the rules, there shouldn’t be any drama.”

Buchanan said he spoke to Geoff Lawson, coach of Pakistan, before the IPL started and was told that Shoaib had never been fitter. “He brings pace to the table and is possibly one of those players who could emerge a Twenty20 specialist because Shoaib won’t have to bowl more than four overs. He could just run in for those four overs and make an impact,” said Buchanan. “Pace is pretty important [and] one of the things we’re looking for in the team is for somebody to stand up and have a presence. We could get that out of somebody like a Brad Hodge or a Salman Butt. Equally, someone like Shoaib brings a presence; whether he plays or not, there’s a real buzz around him.”

Asked about his approach towards Shoaib, Buchanan said: “That these are my expectations from you and I’m sure you’ve got expectations of me. That this is how the team operates, that these are the values we hold dear. Welcome to the Knight Riders, but there are no special rules for anybody.”

Source:Cricket News

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 7th, 2008 and is filed under General, Cricket.

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