1. Ajinkya Rahane 2. Rahul Tripathi, 3. Faf du Plessis, 4. Ben Stokes, 5. MS Dhoni, 7. Shardul Thakur. 8. Jaydev Unadkat, 9. Imran Tahir 10. Ankit Sharma; Coach: Stephen Fleming.
One can name a playing XI short on just one player if a list was to be made of players who played for Rising Pune Supergiant in the IPL 2017 and now represent either Chennai Super Kings (CSK) or Rajasthan Royals (RR).
It will be a strange ‘homecoming’ for a lot of players from both the sides when they will take the field on Friday for their Indian Premier League match at the MCA International Stadium here in Gahunje on Friday.
On Thursday, on the eve of the match, as the Sun went down over the picturesque stadium, the stadium colour co-ordinated with the hues of setting Sun, draped in yellow, set to be a home ground to the fourth different IPL franchise.
FROM CHENNAI WITH LOVE
On Friday there will be a sea of over 1000 CSK fans which will flock the stadium as the special train ‘Whistle Podu Express’ arranged by team management will arrive in the city.
These unique travelling ‘home fans’ will definitely increase the decibel level at the stadium, adding to the heap of Pune-based CSK supporters, helping the team, as they look to settle into their new den. Mike Hussey, the batting coach of the team, expressed that team has the depth to adapt to the conditions of Pune.
“We have to (adapt to this conditions). Certainly. The team was based a lot on spin, based on Chennai conditions. but the conditions here may be very different, so we are going to have to adapt very quickly,” he said.
“I personally believe our squad has some nice depth in different areas. So we can cover different scenarios depending on the conditions and we have got the quality to put out a very good team on the park. Yes, we will have to adapt I think, as the team is going to be different here than we would expect in Chennai,” he added.
For Rajasthan, Sanju Samson and Ajinkya Rahane are firing on all cylinders but other ‘big money players’, Ben Stokes and Jaydev Unadkat, have yet to make a substantial contribution. But, playing on their last year’s home ground the duo would certainly love to change that. Rahul Tripathi, who has batted at various positions so far, will be relising the opportunity.
All in all, Chennai will look to make Pune their home, while Rajasthan will hope to get back to the winning ways. When the ‘WhistelPodu Express’ will bring CSK fans to MCA Stadium, one will surely remember the Coldplay song, “It was all yellow...”
INJURY BOOST FOR RAJASTHAN ROYALS
The Stephen Fleming coached franchise received a big injury boost as both skipper MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina trained separately and batted in the nets.
On the extent of Dhoni’s back injury, considering he is the wicketkeeper-batsman in the side, Hussey added that soft bed in Mohali might have stiffened his back, which the player must have aggravated while batting. But, should the duo go through Thursday’s training, as they did, they will be on the teamsheet on the matchday.