Rohit Sharma is one of the reasons Mumbai Indians are not feeling pressure to retain the Indian Premier League title. Munir uz Zaman / AFP
Rohit Sharma is one of the reasons Mumbai Indians are not feeling pressure to retain the Indian Premier League title. Munir uz Zaman / AFP

Mumbai keen to add to last year’s success in IPL

ABU DHABI // John Wright, the Mumbai Indians coach, insisted that every game in the Indian Premier League (IPL) is a "challenge".

Mumbai Indians, the defending champions who meet Kolkata Knight Riders when the IPL's seventh season kicks off on Wednesday at the Zayed Cricket stadium, had their first training session in Abu Dhabi under lights on Friday night.

“It is a tough and tight league, and every game is going to be important,” said Wright, the former New Zealand captain and India coach.

“Look at all the teams. and every team has their stars. and there are no easy games in this league, which I think, makes it a great league. So every game will be a challenge.”

Wright led the Mumbai Indians to their first IPL and second Champions League Twenty20 titles last year and views the new season as a new ball game.

“No pressure, really, having won the first IPL and the Champions League trophy last year,” he said. “We don’t think about that feeling but just go out there and win the game.

“We had a great season last year, winning both the IPL and the Champions League titles. The players are keen to have another great IPL season.”

He said Rohit Sharma’s captaincy was spot on last year and he expects the same this season. “He led us with the bat and then being very tactically aware of his role.”

Wright said he was delighted with the recent form of Lasith Malinga, who led Sri Lanka to the ICC World T20 Cup in Bangladesh last month.

“Lasith will be here fresh from the success he has had as the Sri Lankan captain,” he said. “He’s having a bit of a break and will join us soon. He’s been bowling wonderfully and it’s good to have him back in such form.

“We are a very good squad and when we pick the final 11 which is going to be strong and that’s the thing that counts. We have a good back up. We play with passion and we always go out to win.”

Wright said the players were very excited to be playing in the UAE.

“It is great to get here and start with a practice match this evening,” he said. “The conditions are very pleasant ...

“Some of the boys were saying how pleasant it was at this beautiful stadium.

“The pitch on which we are having a go this evening works more than the one in which we actually play our first game. Looks like it would be a good wicket because the boys are striking the ball well.

“They are all tough games. They are all good teams and we are looking forward to our first game. The IPL is exciting and the fans are going to find that out here.”

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