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Mecca of Indian cricket comes alive for IPL opener

A sizeable crowd assembled in front of the stadium to have a glimpse of their favourite stars as both the teams had their practice sessions on Monday.

Published: 02nd April 2013 09:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd April 2013 09:31 AM   |  A+A-

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Eden Gardens, the Mecca of Indian cricket is alive and kicking after a gap of around two months. This time the historic venue is all set to kick start the sixth edition of Indian Premier League with defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders taking on Delhi Daredevils in the tourney opener on Wednesday.

A sizeable crowd assembled in front of the stadium to have a glimpse of their favourite stars as both the teams had their practice sessions on Monday. While the gala opening ceremony was set aside to be staged at Salt Lake Stadium on Tuesday, Eden Gardens geared up for cricket’s most professional and enthralling event – IPL-VI.  With former captain Virender Sehwag struggling to regain his form, England star Kevin Pietersen down with a knee injury, flamboyant Kiwi opener Jesse Ryder ruled out completely after a ghastly attack on him and South Africa speedster Morne Morkel not available due to domestic engagement, it would a uphill task for Delhi Daredevils to upset the applecart of defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders in the gala opener.

But Andre Russell, the mercurial West Indies allrounder of the Delhi franchise, feels otherwise. “Hopefully I will fit into the slot, which has been created in the absence of Pietersen and Ryder and contribute in all three departments of the game. We have to be like individuals who can fill in the gap,’’ said the 28-year-old Jamaican cricketer.

“I am confident of playing a good role for the side. I’ve had some good performances which give me a lot of confidence. T20 is such a format that requires to play some big hits lower down the order. I’m happy to play that role for my team. Last year I did not get much opportunities. The time, the target is to play as many match as possible for my team,” added Russel. Russell described his West Indies teammate Sunil Narine as the most dangerous bowler of Kolkata Knight Riders.

“He is really difficult to play. You can’t really play big shots against him. You don’t know which way the ball is going to turn from his action. It’s very important not to lose wickets regularly.”

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