Malinga absence a blow, says Ponting

Malinga absence a blow, says Ponting

 Despite possessing one of the finest set of players, Mumbai Indians haven’t managed to nail the trophy in the Indian Premier League -- neither under Sachin Tendulkar nor under Harbhajan Singh.

With new man -- Ricky Ponting -- at the helm, the visitors hope to lay their hands on the coveted trophy. “There are still a few teams in this competition that haven’t won the tournament either,” pointed out the former Aussie skipper when pointed towards Mumbai drawing a blank in the last five years.

“Every team puts together a fantastic squad of players. We’re not thinking about winning the IPL right now, we’re just preparing for tomorrow’s game. We can’t afford to look too far ahead; we have to just concentrate on doing the basics well tomorrow night. And if we can keep our squad of players fit and healthy for the whole two months, then I’m sure that come the end of the tournament, the Mumbai Indians will be right up there,” he remarked.

The Mumbai skipper admitted his side will miss pacer Lasith Malinga. “He’s going to miss tomorrow night. He’s got a sore back that’s just been lingering around for a little while. So we’ve decided to keep him back in Sri Lanka until the April 5. He’ll join the boys in the squad in Mumbai on the fifth. Obviously disappointing not to have him for the first game -- he’s probably the leading fast-bowler in world twenty20 cricket, and it would have been nice to have him in our team tomorrow night, but that’s not the case. We’re just hoping for a speedy recovery, and hopefully he’ll be okay for game three,” he said.

The Mumbai skipper agreed that opening combination was a problem for his team. “I understand that over the last couple of seasons with the Mumbai Indians in particular, we’ve swapped and changed and had different combinations while opening. Guys have come in and out of the side quite regularly. That tends to happen when you’re not winning games. What we want to do is get off to a good starts and try and keep a pretty settled set of players throughout the tournament, barring injuries,” he noted.

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