Welcome Pune and Kochi, Sorry Ahmedabad !!

Pune and Kochi were the chosen cities for the 2 new IPL teams to be added to the existing eight from the next season in 2011. The entire bidding process was earlier cancelled and bids were re-invited and winners were declared today in a much hyped press conference in Chennai.

When the bids were yet to be opened, cities like Ahmedabad, Kanpur, Nagpur, Pune, Vizag, Indore, Kochi etc. were in the fray and it was learnt that 5 proper bids were received. It was widely thought that bids from Videocon group, Sahara Group, Adani group etc. would be the winners and most people expected Ahmedabad and perhaps Pune to be the host cities of the new franchises.

Sahara Group turned out to be the highest bidder with 370 Million $ and they chose Pune as their host city. The next highest bidder was a consortium of 5 companies named Rendezvous Sports World who bid 333.33 million $ for the franchise to be hosted in Kochi. The other bidders bid close to 320 million $ each but of course only 2 teams were to be chosen and they lost out. The losers included Videocon group, Adani Group etc.

Sahara Group opting for Pune over Ahmedabad and Nagpur was perhaps more a business decision than a cricketing decision. Pune being a city on par with Ahmedabad in most ways is almost a twin city of Mumbai, who already have a powerful franchise in Mumbai Indians, thus their cricketing catchment area would most certainly overlap. In Ahmedabad you had a huge catchment area comprising of 3 Ranji teams of Gujarat, Baroda and Saurashtra, waiting to be tapped. Sahara surely had other reasons to select Pune over Ahmedabad.

Kochi was a complete surprise, even for the IPL head honcho Lalit Modi himself. Post the announcement he struggled to name the winning group and its leading person and later when asked about who the actual owners were of the team, had to refer to his notes and finally had to take help of the winning team head to declare who actually the owners were. It turned out that owners of Rendezvous Sports World are a group of builders, real estate developers based in Kerala. Kochi at present, does not even have a proper cricket stadium and uses a football stadium to host international matches,  however the real estate developers in the winning team would certainly be licking their lips at the thought of building a brand new stadium.

Ahmedabad is perhaps unlucky to lose out on a lucrative offer of hosting an IPL franchise. The 2 new franchises gave the IPL an amount close to Rs. 3200 crores which is more than selling of previous 8 franchises put togather, Rs. 2,800 crores. Lalit Modi announced that there would be no further expansion of IPL, atleast in near future. But with the kind of money available and the interest shown by leading coroporate houses in hosting an IPL franchise one can never say, never to the idea of more teams say in 3 years time. Ahmedabad can perhaps try their luck that time.

Any guesses for the names of the 2 new teams. My guesses would be Pune Panthers and Kochi Cobras.

IPL 3 – First Impressions of Teams

Now that I have seen at least one match of each of the 8 teams, I think now is a good time to mention my first impressions of the teams.

To start with –  Mumbai Indians –  It looked like grandfather Sachin and Sanath playing with their grandkids, atleast when the team was announced. With their combined age 77 it did seem that way. The team looked lacking middle order strength BUT they proved me wrong and the new recruits seems like a good choice. Aditya Tare, Saurabh Tiwary, Sathish and Ambati Rayadu look well in their part and they won the match despite Seniors not doing much, Harbhajan injured and Yusuf Pathan blitzkrieg.  Perhaps Lucky to win that day, but if they continue to play that way a spot in the semis is there for the taking.

A team you love it or hate it but cant ignore it ,  Kolkata Knightriders. Surprise ! Surprise !  The team is playing as a ‘team’ and have left behind their past 2 nightmarish seasons, at least it looks so far. Ganguly is leading them from the front and his fielding and batting maybe a bit rusty but his captaincy is as sharp as it was during his peak. Angelo Matthews has to be the most underrated ( and cheap) all rounder just like most Lankan players are. Brad Hodge is playing well and Laxmi Ratan Shukla seems to have a got a second wind. The team should continue to do well especially in home games with massive Eden Garden support behind them and half of Bollywood cheering for them. With superstar overseas players like Hussey, Bond , Mccullum and Gayle yet to arrive , things can only be better. Perhaps a semifinal spot for them.

Rajasthan Royals was the team of 10 players and Shae Warne in the first edition, now its perhaps 10 players and Yusuf Pathan. The man is in peak of his form and can do no wrong. Breaking several domestic records in last 2 months he continues to pummel the opposition bowlers with his huge sixes and massive drives. Royals were unlucky not to win their first match. However apart from Pathan other team members looked bit out of touch. Warne didnt turn the ball much and none of the other bowlers were impressive. Although its mindless to predict based on just 1 game but I think Royals might just miss out on the Semis spot this year.

Another team that looked rusty was Chennai Superkings. Even with massive crowd support behind them, they couldnt muster up a decent fight to the Chargers. Their bowling looks weak and even Muralidharan seems  struggling. They are also missing Flintoff and Oram and they seem to rely too much on Dhoni and Hayden at the top. Someone like Suresh Raina, Badrinath etc. have to stand and deliver. They have to improve and improve real soon.

Deccan Chargers rolled over the superkings succesfully after suffering unexpected loss against Knightriders. They seem to have the right team combination with Gilchrist and Gibbs at the top, Symonds and Rohit Sharma in the middle. Their bowling also looks decent with R P Singh, Vaas and Prgyan Ojha. Their slightly weaker link is I think VVS Laxman. Laxman is the most elegant player when its comes to batting in a test match, however in this format of the game he looks out of place especially when he is opening the innings along with fluent Gilchrist. Perhaps they need to make him bat at 4 or 5, although I cant see him slogging in the final 5 overs either. Maybe drop Laxman altogether.

Bangalore Royal Challengers looks a great team when you have experience of Kaalis, Dravid, Kumble to combine with young brigade like Manish Pandey , Robin Utthappa and Virat Kohli and with Dale Steyn leading the bowling attack you have one of the best balanced team. However they were simply outclassed in the first match by KKR. Perhaps they would soon get their act together and be a team they were last year.

Kings XI Punjab to me looks the weakest team of the tournament. Somehow the middle order of Mahela, Yuvraj and Sangakkara looks too sedate and their bowling minus Brett Lee lacks serious firepower. Irfant Pathan needs a speedy dose of aggression from his brother Yusuf Pathan. Ramesh Power and Piyush Chawala looked clueless on slow pitch. They need Brett Lee to be back , mercurial Sreesanth to be consistent and maybe someone more aggrasive like Shaun Marsh at top of order should be good. Whats Mohhamad Kaif doing in the team?

Finally, the team to beat, Delhi Daredevils with the strongest batting lineup of this IPL, they would be the team every other team would be afraid of. On their day any of Sehwag, Gambhir, Warner, Dilshan and AB Deviliers can blast any bowling attack out of the ground. They have a wonderful bowling attack as well with Dirk Nannes in top form and Amit Mishra with a new found confidence. A semifinal spot is almost a guaranteed if they continue to play like they do and they can. Who knows maybe even the championship !

IPL 3.0 Teammembers

Given Below is a list of Team members of all the IPL 3.0 Teams

Based on below I have joined Cricinfo Fantasy League for IPL 3.0 – My team name – Chin512 Champs

R Ashwin PP Ojha AB Agarkar R Bhatia
L Balaji Harmeet Singh VR Aaron A Mishra
C Ganapathy RP Singh AB Dinda DP Nannes
MS Gony KAJ Roach M Kartik A Nehra
SB Jakati R Sharma BAW Mendis AM Salvi
M Muralidaran BATSMEN CK Langeveldt PJ Sangwan
M Ntini AA Bilakhia I Sharma U Yadav
S Tyagi HH Gibbs Iqbal Abdulla WD Parnell
BATSMEN VVS Laxman Eklakh Ahmed S Ladda
KB Arun Karthik DB Ravi Teja MB Parmar Sarandeep Singh
S Badrinath RG Sharma BATSMEN VY Mahesh
GJ Bailey TL Suman BJ Hodge Y Nagar
ML Hayden AS Yadav CA Pujara BATSMEN
MEK Hussey Anirudh Singh OA Shah G Gambhir
SK Raina ALL ROUNDERS MK Tiwary AB de Villiers
M Vijay RJ Harris Harshad Khadiwale TM Dilshan
HK Badani DR Smith ALL ROUNDERS M Manhas
A Symonds SC Ganguly V Sehwag
T Thushara WPUJC Vaas AD Mathews DA Warner
JA Morkel Y Venugopal Rao G Vignesh KM Jadhav
NLTC Perera B Sumanth Rohan Gavaskar MC Henriques
JM Kemp MD Mishra Harpreet Singh MF Maharoof
WK AA Reddy Mandeep Singh Joginder Singh
PA Patel AC Gilchrist WP Saha KD Karthik
L Ablish SK Warne A Kumble CRD Fernando
B Lee Kamran Khan KP Apanna Zaheer Khan
PP Chawla M Morkel D du Preez DS Kulkarni
RR Powar MM Patel A Mithun SL Malinga
SJ Srivastava Amit Singh Praveen Kumar Harbhajan Singh
S Sreesanth SW Tait DW Steyn R Shukla
VS Malik SK Trivedi R Vinay Kumar BATSMEN
Amanpreet Singh SA Asnodkar R Dravid S Dhawan
BATSMEN GC Smith V Kohli J-P Duminy
AB Barath DR Martyn MK Pandey AT Rayudu
K Goel MJ Lumb LRPL Taylor SS Tiwary
DPMD Jayawardene FY Fazal RV Uthappa ALL ROUNDERS
M Kaif AA Jhunjhunwala Eoin Morgan DJ Bravo
RS Bopara AG Paunikar ALL ROUNDERS ST Jayasuriya
SE Marsh SA Quadri B Akhil R McLaren
TM Srivastava AS Raut Bhuvneshwar Kumar GR Napier
Yuvraj Singh JH Kallis AM Nayar
ALL ROUNDERS KP Pietersen KA Pollard
IK Pathan AD Mascarenhas RE van der Merwe I Malhotra
JR Hopes YK Pathan CL White AG Murtaza
RS Sodhi J Botha Steven Smith R Sathish
Bipul Sharma S Narwal S Sriram KS Sahabuddin
Kumar Sangakkara WK MV Boucher C Madan
MS Bisla NV Ojha SP Goswami AP Tare