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John praises captain Rohit

Rohit

Calcutta: Having bagged both the Indian Premier League and Champions League T20 titles last year, Mumbai Indians will be a confident outfit when they start their IPL VII campaign against Kolkata Knight Riders, at Abu Dhabi, on Wednesday.

Having retained most of their core players and with the addition of players like Mike Hussey and Corey Anderson, the side looks to be quite balanced. No wonder then that there are huge expectations from the side and coach John Wright is aware of it.

“There’s an air of expectancy. All the teams have a different make-up this time… We have a core of players from last year as well as some new additions. We are all looking forward to getting started,” Wright said.

“We had a look at the wicket and there was a bit of grass, so it should be a good wicket. So we will need to select our team accordingly.”

The mood in the Mumbai Indians camp wore a distinctively lively look during their practice session on the eve of the match as ‘icon’ Sachin Tendulkar hogged the limelight, guiding and encouraging his former teammates.

“Sachin has been a big part of the team, longer than some of us, including myself,” he said. “This team holds an important part in his heart. It’s great to have him around, particularly for our young guys who look up to him.”

Another man whose presence will boost MI’s batting is Hussey. Wright hinted the Australian may open the batting with Rohit Sharma.

Wright was all praise for captain Rohit Sharma. “Rohit has done an outstanding job and I don’t think anyone should underestimate his abilities. This time, he comes in as the captain of the defending champions and it will not be easy for him. But he is ready for the challenge. His captaincy adds a lot to this team, and what he has contributed to this team should not be undermined.”