Mohali: Despite winning their last game against them, Kings XI Punjab's captain and coach Adam Gilchrist feels that Mumbai Indians are a dangerous side. "Mumbai is a dangerous side. They are an all-round side with quality players and star-studded line-up," Gilchrist said on the eve of his team's return-leg clash against the Harbhajan Singh-led side.
Punjab, which is being led by stand-in captain David Hussey in the absence of Gilchrist, defeated Mumbai by six wickets at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday. The 40-year-old Australian, who suffered a hamstring injury in an earlier game, hinted that he is not fit to play Wednesday's match and is currently undergoing rehabilitation. "I am not sure," he replied when asked how long he would take to get back into action.
Gilchrist said he was pleased with the result against Mumbai on Sunday and his team had an "all-round game". He, however, said the star-studded MI line-up cannot be underestimated at any stage.
When asked if his team would enjoy any kind of psychological advantage over their opposition, having defeated them six out of nine games they have played in the last four years, Gilchrist said that it does not make a huge difference as the conditions kept changing from time to time. "Had it been 9-0, may be [then it would have made some difference]."
When asked about the return of Sachin Tendulkar, who sustained a finger injury earlier in the tournament, in the Mumbai side, Gilchrist said his team has a plan to tackle him. He also added that besides Tendulkar, there were other players like James Franklin and Dinesh Karthik, which make Mumbai’s batting very strong.
Gilchrist also praised the young Indian players, including wicketkeeper batsmen Nitin Saini, Mandeep Singh and medium pacer Parvinder Awana, of his team, saying he is impressed with their performance and now it is up to them to carry it forward. "I am impressed with his [Saini’s] mindset," he said. "He [Awana] is an exciting prospect, though I am not sure he understands all the words that I say to him [referring to language barrier]."
Meanwhile, Mumbai Indians’ coach Shaun Pollock said Tendulkar’s return has given stability to his team’s top order. "[There is] no doubt that Sachin brings with him a wealth of experience. He brings stability at the top. It's his birthday today and hopefully, we can expect a great knock from him tomorrow," he said.
Pollock said that the history of T20 cricket suggests that any team’s top four batsmen do the bulk of scoring. The Mumbai outfit is still missing the services of pace spearhead Lasith Malinga, whose back problem hasn’t recovered yet, according to Pollock. If available, the Sri Lankan would be an automatic choice among the foreign players, the former South African skipper added.
With Harbhajan expressing his dissatisfaction over team’s fielding effort during their loss to Punjab in the last game, Pollock felt that good catches and stops [good fielding] undoubtedly put the opponents under pressure and this was one area they need to improve further.
On Harbhajan not achieving much success in IPL-5, Pollock said, "He [Harbhajan] is a good bowler and his time will come. I am sure he will come into his own." When asked about Munaf Patel's verbal duel, Pollock said the pacer is passionate about his game but he has been cautioned not to "go overboard". The coach also defended top- order batsman Rohit Sharma who, except his match-winning knock against Deccan Chargers earlier in the tournament, hasn’t been contributing much. Pollock said such is the nature of his [Rohit’s] game and he did not play an "out of character shot" [in the last game against Punjab].