Sunday, April 12, 2009

Yuvraj Singh : IPL ideal for Cup preparations

Mumbai: Yuvraj Singh said on Saturday that the Indian Premier League (IPL), starting on April 18, would be the ideal preparation for the World Twenty20 to be held in England in June.

“The IPL has come at the right time, before the world championships. Each team has 14 games before the semi-finals and final, and it would be a good practice for everybody,” Yuvraj, captain of Kings XI Punjab, said at a press conference here.

He, however, refused to be drawn into a debate on the controversial multiple captaincy theory put forth by Kolkata Knight Riders coach John Buchanan.

“No comments. I do not want to say anything about other teams,” Yuvraj said

He also refused to single out any side as the Kings XI’s main rivals, saying all eight teams were good. “I don’t want to single out any team. There are lot of good teams,” he said.

Yuvraj felt the performance of fast bowlers would be a key factor in the coming IPL as the wickets in South Africa are faster than the Indian pitches where the first edition was played.

“The conditions will be different this year. The wickets will be fast and fast bowling will be important and their performance would be crucial,” he said.

Kings XI Punjab owner Preity Zinta said the absence of Australian speedster Brett Lee, who is set to miss most part of the league due to national commitments, would not be felt.

“We have Burt Cockley, a young Australian who can bowl at 140 kmph. He will be our mainstay in the fast bowling department. We have a lot of aces up our sleeves,” the Bollywood actress said.

“Lee is available (for part of the tournament). We have to go there and see what is the best balance,” he said.

Yuvraj also revealed that he went through an emotional turmoil during the first one-day International on the recent tour of New Zealand.

The Punjab player said that the news of the terrorists’ attack on the Sri Lankan cricketers on March 3 in Lahore while he was at the crease in Napier, had left him a shaken man.

“I was batting with Mahendra Singh Dhoni when one of our teammates passed on the news. My hands started shaking and I couldn’t bat,” Yuvraj said.

Yuvraj was run out for two in that match. The impact of the terror attack, however, would remain a conjecture.

The Kings XI Punjab captain would meet the Lankan cricketers for the first time after the attack when he flies to South Africa to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL) next week. Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, two of the players who were wounded in the attack, are the Yuvraj’s teammates in the Mohali-based side.

“I had spoken to Sangakkara and Mahela (Jayawardene) after the match. Thankfully, they were safe. I am looking forward to playing with them,” the middle order batsman said.

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