IPL 9: Hardik Pandya at No 3 gives Mumbai Indians good balance, says Parthiv Patel - Firstpost
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IPL 9: Hardik Pandya at No 3 gives Mumbai Indians good balance, says Parthiv Patel

Mumbai: Defending IPL champions Mumbai Indians have been hit hard by the Bombay High Court decision to shift all their home games out of the Wankhede Stadium, but the side were focused only on the game, according to wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel.

"It's something not in our control. I don't think we can think about them. There are still four (actually three) games here. We would rather put our energy into it," said Patel at the press conference today ahead of tomorrow's game here against table toppers Gujarat Lions.

File photo of Hardik Pandya. BCCI

File photo of Hardik Pandya. BCCI

"We have played two games and that includes away games as well (against Kolkata Knight Riders in Kolkata). As players we have been taught not to focus on external things and (instead) focus on the game. Home and away game don't matter. As a sportsman you always want challenges and MI is a team which can play anywhere," he said.

"It's just start of tournament and we are getting some momentum. I don't think it makes any sense in shifting our focus into something which is not in our control. We would rather focus on playing cricket rather than other things," he added.

The two affected franchises -- MI and Rising Pune Supergiants -- were asked by the IPL to pick from Raipur, Jaipur, Visakhapatnam and Kanpur as their alternate home base.

While Pune opted for Visakhapatnam, Mumbai Indians sought two days' time (till April 17) to choose their new base.

Patel said though the team will miss West Indian batsman Lendl Simmons, ruled out of the tournament because of a lower back injury, it has given him an opportunity to bat with his in-form captain Rohit Sharma.

"Lendl has been a brilliant player for us and has scored a lot of runs over the last two years. We had good opening partnerships last year. Now it gives me an opportunity to play with Rohit. He's in great form and makes batting look easy and that gives me confidence at the other end as well.

Meanwhile, Simmons' replacement, New Zealander Martin Guptill, has reached here and he did practice today with the squad but is unlikely to make it to the playing eleven tomorrow.

Ahmedabad-born Patel, who made 23 in the previous game against Kolkata, backed the team's think tank's move to promote all-rounder Hardik Pandya to bat at number three followed by Mitchell McClenaghan.

"He's (Pandya) a quality player. He got lot of runs in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 trophy here batting at number three.

Him batting at number three gives a very good balance. It gives (Ambati) Rayudu, (Kieron) Pollard and (Jos) Buttler a nice place to bat on," said Patel.

On the promotion of McClenaghan ahead of Buttler and Pollard against KKR two days ago, Patel said, "Both of them (captain Rohit and coach Ricky Ponting) decided to send McClenaghan at number four. He played a crucial role. Usually when a wicket falls, the momentum shifts a bit but I thought he came and played a brilliant 20 runs."

Praising the coaching style of Ponting, Patel said it was his calm demeanour which played a major role in MI's turn of fortunes after losing four straight games at the beginning of last season and go on to clinch the title for the second time.

"Ricky is brilliant. He gives us the space and he gives confidence. His positive energy is very good. Win or lose he makes sure the atmosphere remains good and that's the reason we could stage the comeback last year.

"I don't think losing the first game (on April 9 here against Pune) made any difference. We started afresh (against KKR) and that's the way the Australian team played under him.

I know how he plays and that's what he tries to rub on the players," Patel said.


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