Challengers ready to grind it out

Runners-up of the Indian Premier League and the Champions League T20 the previous year, Royal Challengers Bangalore will begin their preparations for the fifth edition of the IPL here at the Chinnaswamy stadium from Tuesday with coach Ray Jennings in-charge of a short camp in the build up to the cash-rich event that kicks off in Chennai on April 4.

Most of the local and Indian players are expected to report to the camp on the opening day along with Sri Lankan spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan and Australian all-rounder Andrew McDonald among others. Muralitharan was picked up by the Challengers in the auction held here in February while McDonald was bought from Delhi Daredevils who had put the Victorian on sale.

Skipper Daniel Vettori is expected to reach here on April 1 after the on-going Test series against South Africa.

Star Indian batsman Virat Kohli, also the deputy to Vettori, and the re-acquired paceman R Vinay Kumar will check in on April 3 after the one-off Twenty20 match against South Africa in Johannesburg on March 30 along with Protean wicketkeeper-batsman AB de Villiers.

Explosive batsman Chris Gayle, whom the RCB managed to sign up before the auction, will land in the city on Wednesday. The West Indian opener made peace with his country’s cricket Board (WICB) by singing an agreement on Sunday but his contractual obligations with the Bangalore side unlikely to be affected. The Vijay Mallya-owned outfit will also miss the services of another dashing opener Tillakaratne Dilshan for at least their first match against Delhi Daredevils on April 7 at Chinnaswamy stadium. The Sri Lankan is part of the two-Test home series against England that concludes on April 7.

The squad: Daniel Vettori (capt), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Saurabh Tiwary, Arun Karthik, Andrew McDonald, Mohammad Kaif, CM Gautam, Cheteshwar Pujara, Zaheer Khan, Charl Langeveldt, Luke Pomersbach (wk), Rilee Rossouw, KP Appanna, Sreenath Aravind, Rajoo Bhatkal, Abrar Kazi, R Vinay Kumar, Abhimanyu Mithun, Muttiah Muralitharan, Karun Nair, Dirk Nannes, Ryan Ninan, Harshal Patel, Asad Pathan, Jamaluddin Syed Mohammad, Vijay Zol.

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