Thursday, March 1, 2012

Kolkata Knight Riders sign four new players

Kolkata Knight Riders have signed four cricketers from India's domestic circuit for the upcoming IPL season starting April 4. Debabrata Das, Iresh Saxena, Chirag Jani and Sanju Samson are their latest recruits.
Das, from Bengal, was part of the Knight Riders squad in the 2008 season. A batsman and part-time wicketkeeper, Debabrata has played nine Twenty20 matches, scoring 126 runs at 15.75.
Saxena, a left-arm spinner, also plays for Bengal, has done will in Twenty20 cricket, taking 14 wickets from 13 games at 16.28 and at an economy-rate of 5.47. He is Bengal's highest wicket-taker so far in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, India's domestic Twenty20 tournament. 

Jani, 22, has had an excellent debut season with Saurashtra in List A cricket in the Vijay Hazare Trophy , averaging 119 from four games with a highest of an unbeaten 98. 

Samson, only 17, is a wicketkeeper-batsman from Kerala. 

"Our latest signings continue to reflect our two chosen areas of local players and emerging talent," Venky Mysore, the Knight Riders CEO, said in a release. Debabrata and Iresh grow out commitment and investment in our catchment area of Bengal - and we are really happy that they will get a chance to secure their places in our team. 

"Chirag and Sanju represent our investments towards the future, and we know that they have the talent and dedication to significantly contribute to our team one day."

Daredevils sign Ross Taylor from Royals

Delhi Daredevils have acquired Ross Taylor, the New Zealand captain, from Rajasthan Royals. Taylor is the second batsman Daredevils have signed in a trade, with Kevin Pietersen having made the move from Deccan Chargers in the first transfer window prior to the IPL auction. The transfer amount was not disclosed. 

"We all know what a quality player Ross is and we are happy that he will be with us this season," Delhi Daredevils mentor TA Sekar said. "Besides players like our captain Virender Sehwag and David Warner, we have added muscle to our batting by inducting Mahela Jayawardene, Kevin Pietersen and now Ross Taylor into our fold. Our fans can look forward to some explosive knocks." 

Taylor was bought by the Royals for $1 million in the 2011 player auction and played just the one season for them. He was picked to be the team's finisher, to provide that late-innings kick that sets a winning total or ensures a successful run-chase. Over 11 innings last season, he averaged 36.20 with a strike rate of 119.07 and a top score of 47 not out, one of six innings in which he remained unbeaten. Rajasthan were in contention for a spot in the play-offs for the first half of the season, but lost four of their last five games to finish sixth in the league table. 

Taylor is currently out of action with a calf strain that he picked up on the second morning of the only Test against Zimbabwe in Napier in January. He missed the limited-overs games against South Africa but is expected to return to the side for the first Test that begins on March 7.
The Daredevils will be Taylor's third IPL team. He started out with Royal Challengers Bangalore, where he quickly became a fan favourite, but the franchise chose not to retain him ahead of last year's auction. The trading window for the 2012 IPL shuts at midnight tonight.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mumbai Indians snap up much-wanted Levi

Mumbai Indians have signed Richard Levi, the much-wanted South Africa batsman who recently hit the fastest Twenty20 international hundred, as a replacement for allrounder Andrew Symonds. Levi, who went unsold in the IPL player auction on February 4, had been contacted by various IPL franchises following his record-breaking century in the second Twenty20 international against New Zealand in Hamilton. Symonds, the former Australia allrounder, retired from professional cricket, citing family reasons, earlier this month.
Levi announced his arrival on the international stage in only his second T20I. Opening the innings in South Africa's chase of 174 against New Zealand, he smashed 13 sixes - a record - in an unbeaten 117 off 51 balls. His century came off just 45 balls. Prior to that knock, Levi had spent four seasons with South African franchise Cape Cobras, impressing in the domestic limited-overs competitions and the 2011-12 Champions League. 

Levi said he was excited to join Mumbai Indians because he would have the opportunity to play alongside his hero Sachin Tendulkar. "I have heard from friends that Mumbai Indians is like an extended family where the team shares a great bond and trusts youngsters," he said. "Sachin Tendulkar has been my childhood hero and it would be exciting to share the dressing room with him." 

Mumbai Indians started the last IPL season with Tendulkar opening alongside Davy Jacobs, the South African wicketkeeper-batsman. Jacobs, though, has had problems with injuries and has not played professional cricket since last year's Champions League due to a recurring hip problem. Mumbai Indians have had to try different opening combinations, with Aiden Blizzard, Sarul Kanwar and James Franklin all getting opportunities at the top of the order. Levi could bring solidity to the position if he cements his place.