Confident KKR leave for Chennai to kick off IPL 4

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Confident of a turnaround, the Gautam Gambhir-led revamped Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) left for Chennai today to cross swords with defending champions Chennai Super Kings in the inaugural match of Indian Premier League (IPL) Season 4 on April 8.

The Shah Rukh Khan-owned franchise, hailed as one of the most glamorous outfits on the block, is the only team which has failed to book a semi- final berth in past three seasons of the cash-rich IPL.

The side was captained by former India skipper Sourav Ganguly on two occasions -- the first and the third edition -- whereas swashbuckling Kiwi wicket-keeper batsman Brendon McCullum was at the helm in the second edition, but a place in the knock-out stage remained elusive.

Having bit the dust thrice, the new KKR management headed by Venky Mysore decicded to go in for a major overhaul this time and took a bold decision to not retain any players, including Ganguly, McCullum and the explosive Chris Gayle of West Indies.

They acquired some big fish like World Cup final star Gambhir, Baroda dasher Yousuf Pathan and South Africa batting mainstay Jacques Kallis in this year's auction.

Besides Kallis, other major foreign recruits are England star Eoin Morgan, Bangladesh and Netherlands all-rounders Shakibul Hassan, Ryan Ten Doeschate and veteran Australian pacer Brett Lee.

They also invested in some valuable domestic players like speedster Laxmipati Balaji and Delhi transfers Pradeep Sangwan and Rajat Bhatia.

Sounding confident of the team's prospects, bowling consultant Wasim Akram said, "A captain who leads from front, a batting line-up which includes some of the most explosive T20 batsmen, a talented pace attack and some genunine all-rounders make KKR a formidable side."

The new skipper was also confident the team doing well this season.

The outfit had finished second from bottom in the inaugural edition and was placed last in season two. In 2010, the side missed a semi-final berth by virtue of a poor run-rate.

At Rs 34 Crore, MS Dhoni highest insured in IPL

Chennai Super Kings captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who is the highest earning cricketer in the world, is the most heavily insured player for the forthcoming Indian Premier League T20 tournament which begins on April 8.

An insurance firm official confirmed that the Indian captain, who led CSK to victory in IPL 3, has been insured for Rs 34 crore by the Oriental Insurance Company (OIC)-a rise of Rs 24 crore over his insurance cover for IPL 3. CSK has paid a premium of Rs 16 lakh, which includes travel risk cover, including medical emergencies, personal accident and loss of baggage.

Suresh Raina, retained by CSK, will get an insurance cover of Rs 20.5 crore. Incidentally, little master Sachin Tendulkar, who will play for Mukesh Ambani's Mumbai Indians for the fourth consecutive season, has an insurance cover of only Rs 12 crore.

Mahela Jayawardene, the skipper of Kochi Tuskers Kerala, has been insured for Rs 20.5 crore. "He seems to be most highly insured overseas player for the tournament," said a source, adding, "Speedster Dale Steyn from South Africa, who will be playing for Deccan Chargers, has been insured for Rs 16 crore."

According to a source from the insurance industry, every insurance company and IPL team have a different methodology of finalizing an insurance policy. "For example, Ambani has decided to take comprehensive cover for his team, which includes event cancellation cover, workmen's compensation, personal accident cover, medical cover and so on," he said. "For this, he is likely to shell out a premium of around Rs 1.5 crore to the National Insurance Company."

The cover will be active till the time the final is played on May 28. The policy can be invoked in the event of the death of a player or total disability, permanent partial disability or temporary total disability. The policy holder will be paid compensation for injuries that are sustained on and off the field during the duration of the tournament. One of the rules of IPL is that even if the player is benched due to a disability, he has to be paid his dues by the franchisee. The cover is being taken by the franchisee to cover his or her financial interest.

Many owners are still in the process of finalizing the insurance cover for their team. "Most of the franchise representatives involved in the insurance negotiations don't understand the trade and there's a lot of confusion," said a source. "Hence the delay in finalizing the insurance policy for many of the teams."

The official added that many franchise owners seemed to be keen to save money on premium. "However, they do not realize that most of the rates for such risky policies are based on those quoted by reinsures like Llyods of London. Hence, many teams are taking only partial cover to save money on premium, which is a bit risky," he said. Leander Dias, insurance official from OIC, who is an expert on cricket-related policy, is negotiating with several franchises but refused to comment on the developments.

Incidentally, for the recently held ICC World Cup, the Board of Control for Cricket in India ( BCCI) bought a group personal accident policy from OIC. Each player can expect a financial benefit up to Rs. 2.3 crore under this policy.

Checkout IPL 4 schedule here and the team information on the following links.

  1. Chennai Super Kings
  2. Mumbai Indians
  3. Delhi Daredevils
  4. Royal Challengers Bangalore
  5. Deccan Chargers
  6. Kolkata Knight Riders
  7. Rajasthan Royals
  8. Kings XI Punjab
  9. Kochi Tuskers Kerala (New Addition)
  10. Sahara Pune Warriors (New Addition)

Also checkout Venue information:

Folks!!!! Enjoy the IPL Season 4 with m3chennai.com & don't forgot to post your comments!!!

2 COMMENTS

  1. Holders CSK gear-up for new look KKR in IPL opener

    Chennai, April 7 (IANS) Foes turn team-mates and vice-versa as the 2011 Indian Premier League (IPL) commences here Friday with defending champions Chennai Super Kings playing host to the new-look Kolkata Knight Riders.

    Players from various countries, especially those who participated in the just-concluded World Cup, find themselves lined up against their mates and spread across the 10 teams with the inclusion of Pune and Kochi franchises that will be competing in IPL-4 as against eight in the previous three editions.

    Chennai Super Kings came off best from the January auctions as they managed to retain a majority of their players even as other teams indulged in a drastic shake-up. The next six weeks will show whether the chopping and changing has had the desired impact or further weakened the teams.

    Knight Riders are a case in point. They finished sixth out of eight teams in 2008 and 2010, and last in 2009 edition that was moved to South Africa in view of security issues.

    Consequently, their captain for three seasons, Sourav Ganguly, does not even figure in the squad in any capacity with Delhi's Gautam Gambhir, bought for a record $2.4 million, taking over the reins for 2011 season.

    The Knight Riders, in fact, chose not to retain even a single player in an attempt to totally revamp their squad in contrast to the Super Kings who while retaining four - skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Murali Vijay and Albie Morkel - bought back 10.

    Super Kings, the most consistent IPL team having reached the final in 2008, semifinals in 2009 and winning the trophy last year, have retained the core of their squad, including the support staff.

    Given Dhoni's track record as captain, and the depth of talent, both in batting and bowling, besides the continuity factor, the Super Kings are favoured to retain the trophy.

    The Knight Riders face an uphill task on the morrow considering their dismal record against the Super Kings who have won four of their six previous meetings one of which in Cape Town was rained off.

    The Knight Riders' sole win against the Super Kings was at the Centurion two years ago when they chased a target of 189 for the loss of only three wickets.

    The Kolkata team met with failure on all their three previous visits to Chennai, although this time around, the visitors appear to have far more potent ammunition in the form of Yusuf Pathan, Brett Lee, Brad Haddin and Jacques Kallis in their ranks, to douse the local hopes.

    It is a task easier said than done although the Super Kings are without their spearhead Doug Bollinger who is expected to join the squad later this month, and Sri Lankan ace spinner Muttiah Muralitharan who was bought by Kochi.

    Yet, the Super Kings boast of a strong batting line-up that yet again is expected to carry the side through the tournament, despite the absence of Matthew Hayden who was cast free following his dismal form last season.

    Being the first match of the IPL season, it is early days to judge the teams on the basis of names, but the Chennai Super Kings appear primed for the challenge far better than the other nine sides in the fray.

  2. Dhoni's Super Kings all fired up to face Gambhir's Knights

    It will be a classic case of 'friends turning into foes' when Mahendra Singh Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings (CSK) clash with Gautam Gambhir led Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the opening match of the IPL on Friday, less than a week after the duo guided India to their historic World Cup triumph in Mumbai.

    As the cash-rich Twenty20 cricketing extravaganza gets underway at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, it will be the beginning of new era sans Lalit Modi, who was the face of the event during the first three editions.

    Also this will be the first time that the league will feature 10 teams with the inclusion of Pune Warriors and Kochi Tuskers Kerala.

    It will be there for all to see how the BCCI organises an event where Modi used to have a final say in every aspect. The former IPL commissioner and vice-president of BCCI has since then been suspended and now has taken refuge in London after the cricket board pressed numerous charges of corruption against him.

    After a hugely successful Players' Auction which saw some of the young Indian players commanding astronomical prices, the Chirayu Amin-led IPL governing council will now look to capitalise on India's World Cup triumph which has definitely upped the stakes by manifold.

    Coming back to tournament, defending champions CSK will certainly start as the overwhelming favourites against a team that hasn't been able to cash in on its enormous fan following across India, thanks to its principal owner Shah Rukh Khan.

    After having failed to make it to the semifinals during the last three editions, the KKR management led SRK and co-owner Jay Mehta have gone for a revamped side with Gautam Gambhir at the helm and T20 specialist Yusuf Pathan as one of the marquee players.
    With Kolkata's favourite son Sourav Ganguly no longer a part of the team, it will be a big challenge for Gambhir and his boys to start winning and get the cricket crazy Kolkatans rooting for them.

    The bigger challenge will be to get past CSK who have inarguably been the most consistent team during the last three editions with one championship, one runners-up and a last four finish. The biggest strength for CSK has been their ability to retain the most of their core players save Muttiah Muralitharan who will don the Kochi jersey.

    Having retained Dhoni, Suresh Raina, local hero Murali Vijay and South African all-rounder Albie Morkel, the home team bid successfully to retain spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, prolific run-machine Subramanium Badrinath, Australian Michael Hussey which gives their batting a formidable look.

    The Indian captain is, however, the one who believes that it's more about the on-field exploits than the reputation on-paper.

    "Our team is quite good. Like I always say, it is about what we don-field is more important than how the team looks on paper. Fitness is the key during a long tournament like IPL. If all the players are fit and available for selection, it is a very good side," Dhoni said.

    The skipper was all praise for his team's batting line-up.

    "The batting line-up is as good as last year. Badri, Raina is there and South African Faf du Plessis has come in. We have all-rounders and Hussey will also join in. Overall it's a very good batting line-up," he said.

    Dhoni however played down the pressure factor although there is a lot at stake.

    "IPL is not about less pressure. Batting slots are decided according to situation. When all are shuffled up and down the order, it's according to the situation. Batting slots from 1-3 is fixed. Then it's me or Badri. Anuruddh is batting very well for us. If we have to change the batting order, everyone has to be comfortable about doing it."

    For KKR, it will be a make-or-break year. Gambhir, who hadn't exactly fired with the bat after the first edition of IPL will like to carry the confidence of his World Cup success into IPL. Also, he would like to showcase leadership skills and justify his USD 2.4 million price which was the highest during the auctions.

    With the likes Brett Lee, Shakib al Hasan set to join after the Australia vs Bangladesh, KKR will depend on a lot on veteran all-rounder Jacques Kallis, explosive English batsman Eoin Morgan to put up a solid show.

    Apart from Gambhir and Yusuf, some of the domestic players to watch out for in the KKR squad will be Bengal captain Manoj Tiwary, former captain Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Delhi all-rounder Rajat Bhatia, left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdullah, seamers L Balaji and Pradeep Sangwan.

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