I am supposed to start the IPL season five with new responsibilities and challenges. My team management, franchisee owners and above all, Sachin Tendulkar, have shown immense faith in me to lead the side this season. Very humbly, I accept this task and would do anything to live up-to their faith.
And while doing this job I would need the support and guidance from each member of this wonderful Mumbai Indian team. Ideally, we all would have loved to play under Sachin, but last few months have been relatively tough for cricketing giant and he wants someone else to share the burden and I respect his decision. Sachin might have left the job, but his role to lead us and inspire us will never end. He will be the torchbearer and the soul of this side and would play a very active and important role in the shape of this team.
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Like I have always done in my career, I would seek his support and guidance at every step of this journey. And at Mumbai Indians we have this extra motivation this year. We want to win this tournament for Sachin. This is the only trophy missing from his glittering cabinet and we will do all what it takes to give him this fitting reward.
Presently we are in Chennai and getting ready to face Chennai Super Kings in their own den. It goes without saying that this is a battle between two very good sides and promises to be great season opener.
As far as the preparation is concerned, Mumbai Indian camp is full of confidence and raring to go. The mood of the dressing room is upbeat and some new entries have added new dimension to our side. We hit some right notes with our smart purchasing in the auction. Likes of Richard Levi, Dinesh Karthik, RP Singh and Pragyan Ojha are proven performers and their addition has most certainly boosted our strength.
Then we had a preparatory camp which gave us ample time to gear up for the season and chalk out our strategies. The good thing about our side is that despite spending five years in the IPL, we have been able to maintain our nucleus. Our owners have taken extra care to ensure this aspect and that’s why we have grown from strength to strength.
Our support staff has done all what it takes to prepare us and now the obligation is on us to go out and perform in the middle. I am a firm believer that in a game like cricket you have to keep things simple. It’s the game where one team or one player pushes another to make mistakes. So when you do your basics right, you commit less mistakes and results will follow.
Over preparation and over analysis can complicate things. My theory as a player and as a captain would be to keep things simple, back each other, support each other and enjoy the success. Who has done it doesn’t matter, how it has been done matters and that’s where our focus should be.
Coming in to the present season, my personal preparation has been very good. I had a fairly long break from international cricket and it has given me chance to heal my body and the game. Non-stop cricket and travel doesn’t give you the chance to reflect on your game. Without realizing, your minor niggles and minor technical adjustments become major ones. My shin pain is a classic example. It reached a point where doctors told me not to bowl for three months.
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Forget about bowling, even walking became tough and the only remedy was to rest. After the break, I have played some domestic cricket and have been able to get my rhythm back. Gradually and strongly, I am getting closer to my hundred percent.
We, as a team would like to start our campaign with a positive result and built the intensity. Winning should become a habit and we want to inculcate this habit right from the start of this season.