Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Our attack is one of the best | Column by Sanath Jayasuriya



Monday night’s clash with Knight Riders was a big game for us and winning it so convincingly was a welcome confidence boost, lifting us into the top four of the table. Wednesday’s clash against Kings XI Punjab might be a harder test as they are picking up some momentum.

We were lucky to win the toss at Port Elizabeth giving us the chance of putting up a total. As is the case all around the world, chasing is often tough under lights. Fortunately, both Sachin (Tendulkar) and I were able to get-off to a good start. Ishant Sharma was always going to be a key threat and we felt a good start against him would be crucial.

Sachin has been in glorious touch all tournament and he made life easy for me at the beginning of the innings. It is a joy batting at the other end with him. He was the one that
launched the attack and after that I just tried to feed him as much of the strike as possible. It was about four overs before I hit my first boundary.

Some days things just fall into place and Monday night was one of those. We are both

experienced and we both looked to play our natural aggressive game. Everything clicked and it was great fun. My only regret was that the 127-run stand did not lead to a total of around 200. We let things slip a bit at the end and that’s an area to work on.

One big difference for us this year is having a fully fit Lasith Malinga. Sitting at the top of the wicket-taker’s list,
he’s been penetrative and economical with new and old ball. When you see him charging in, bowling with great pace and control, you realise just how much he’s been missed by Sri Lanka in the past year after his knee injury. He’s a natural wicket-taker.

We always knew that Chris Gayle and Brendon McCullum had the capacity to chase down the 188-run target. History was always in our favour under lights, but Gayle especially is such a brutal player. So Lasith having McCullum caught in the gully in his first over was a crucial blow. When Dwayne Bravo snared Gayle, I was confident of a victory.

At the end, Lasith once again illustrated his value at the death of the innings. His ability to bowl at pace into the block hole can be devastating against the lower order. With Lasith, Zaheer, Bravo and Harbhajan we undoubtedly have one of the best attacks in the competition.

However, the performance of Abhishek Nayar should not be forgotten amongst the big names. He did a brilliant job for us taking the wickets of Brad Hodge and Sourav Ganguly.

Sachin and Sanath were absolutely amazing : JP Duminy

What a match we had on Monday! It was one of those days that everything just went our way and we got our basics right. Sachin and Sanath were absolutely amazing and just took the game away from Kolkata Knight Riders. They are the kingpins of the team, and watching them lead from the front was a boost for us youngsters who watch and learn from them.

Sachin and Sanath were my heroes while growing up and being in the same dressing room has been a great experience for a young guy like me. It was even more of an honour to share Sachin's birthday celebrations with him! Batting with him was amazing, too, and I hope I get more opportunities to do so.

Yesterday, the bowlers were spot on, especially Lasith, Nayar and Bravo who just went through the top order. Perhaps the big score we posted took some of the pressure off them, as they did not have to worry about defending a small total and were able to just play their game. Nayar is shaping up well and turning out to be a good all-rounder -- look at the way he smashed Flintoff in our first match, against Chennai! All in all, I think we have a very balanced side with good team spirit and are looking good for the upcoming games.

One of those will be tomorrow when we take on Kings XI Punjab who have won two matches on the trot now. We will really have to concentrate against them and play like we did yesterday. We may be on a high now but still cannot take them for granted as they can be very destructive. Irfan -- who can do a lot of damage with bat and ball -- Yuvraj, Sangakkara, Mahela and Bopara can really hit out. We will have to bowl well and a couple of early wickets will do wonders for us.

Yuvraj is one of their key players, and I remember him hitting Stuart Broad for 36 in one over here at Kingsmead during the ICC world T20. But we have world class bowlers in our side and it will take a great effort from him to repeat that act. We will also have to be careful of Yusuf Abdullah, who has been doing quite well of late.

Having Jonty and Pollock to advise us definitely gives us an edge over most teams. I have learned a lot from Jonty, who has worked with us in the national side too, and Pollock brings so much knowledge and insight of the grounds and conditions with him.

I was looking forward to playing my first IPL in India. Even by watching it on TV last year we could get a feel of what a great experience it was. It is big in South Africa, but back in India it would have been special. Still, I am enjoying the experience of meeting and learning about different players, countries and cultures. To the fans back in India, keep supporting us even though we are not there. Hopefully we will do you proud and bring the trophy back home

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Even today, I don’t take my place for granted: Sanath Jayasuriya | Interview

Iconic Lankan, about to complete 20 years at the top, on opening

Port Elizabeth: Sachin Tendulkar is international cricket’s senior-most pro, but his Mumbai Indians teammate Sanath Jayasuriya made his first appearance for Sri Lanka just weeks after Sachin’s. So he too isn’t far off from completing 20 years at the top.

A champion bat (6,973 runs in Tests and 13,151 in ODIs), the 39-year-old Sanath has few peers. The ‘Matara Blaster’, who has quit Tests though, spoke to The Telegraph at the Garden Court here on Sunday evening.

The following are excerpts

What goes into the making of a quality opener?

(Grins) Plenty of hard work, the willingness to undergo hours and hours of nets... Concentration... Confidence... You’ve got to back yourself against the new ball.

What goes into the making of a quality opener?

(Grins) Plenty of hard work, the willingness to undergo hours and hours of nets... Concentration... Confidence... You’ve got to back yourself against the new ball.

Technique factor

That’s there, yes... I’ve had to work hard as I wasn’t blessed with what some would say a tight technique... I didn’t see that as a handicap, though, and worked that much harder... In fact, even after almost 20 years of international cricket, I still work on my technique... Of course, the very basics have to be correct from the beginning.

On middle-order batsmen being promoted to open

That’s possible, I too started my career in the middle-order... Adjustment is the key and if one can adapt, then what’s the harm?

Whether his idol had been an opener

My hero was Viv Richards, but I’d been a big fan of Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes.

Favourite openers (alphabetically)

Maravan Atapattu: Had such a good technique... I could play my normal game if he was at the other end, because his presence gave such confidence... I didn’t have to worry... Maravan knew his strengths and waited for them to be put into play. He had so much patience, which came from mental toughness of a high order.

Sunil Gavaskar: Had such class and a presence at the crease... Tight on technique and a confidence-giver to the team.

Gordon Greenidge: What an attacking opener! Could hit the ball anywhere... His mental make-up was to attack and attack...

Matthew Hayden: Great presence and an attacking approach... Wanted to dominate from the first ball and got his runs at such a fast clip. Backed himself to deliver.

Desmond Haynes: I loved his approach, he’d demolish bowlers smilingly... Had all the shots and a tighter technique than Greenidge. Also, came across as more relaxed of the two.

Virender Sehwag: Another attacking opener and in both versions... The pace at which he scores allows the team to dictate terms... To set the agenda for the match... Once set, Sehwag gets the big ones... His hundreds, in Tests, have come in a few sessions and not in two days...

The importance of footwork

Footwork is a requirement, but I feel the hand-eye co-ordination is probably more important.

Country where opening has been most challenging

Look, all countries offer some challenge or the other, but one’s biggest test is opening in England in the early part of summer... April-May... Whatever the conditions, once one adjusts, one is bound to enjoy.

Message for emerging openers

Work hard and enjoy your cricket...

What keeps him going?

(Grins) Getting into the Sri Lanka team wasn’t easy (back in 1989-90)... Even today, I don’t take my place for granted in ODIs... The love for cricket has much to do with my continuing to play ODIs and this T20 game... I retired from Tests (in 2007-08) because I thought it was time for Sri Lanka to blood somebody young.

Whether he’s looking to the 2011 World Cup

Can’t say that I’ll play till then... To do that, I’ll have to keep following a process... Staying fit, getting runs and adding value to the team. Let’s see how it goes.

Finally, getting out for 340, when it seemed he could’ve gone for 400, in the 1997-98 Test series against India at home

I was destined to get that many only... I wasn’t meant to get a 350 or reach 400... That’s how I look at it... Not getting more hasn’t been a regret.

Jayasuriya and Tendulkar overwhelm Kolkata | Images

Many a time over the last 15 years or so fans of this great game have wondered what it would be like if Sachin Tendulkar and Sanath Jayasuriya opened together in a limited-overs game and really turned it on. Today they got a glimpse.

The two masters of the limited-overs game, with a combined age of nearly 76, treated Port Elizabeth to the cleanest, purest exhibition of batting that this season of the IPL has seen. Tendulkar paved the way with a sublime innings and Jayasuriya followed suit with an explosive hand, the veteran pair combining to raise a century stand in 52 balls that flummoxed Kolkata Knight Riders. That stunning opening assault formed the crux of Mumbai Indians' 187 and though Kolkata restricted the damage with six wickets for 48 runs after the tactical break, the damage had been done. Their only realistic chance at victory rested on their explosive openers' shoulders but once they were gone inside three overs the chase was basically kaput.

Mumbai's first five overs were busy, without being spectacular. Tendulkar was beaten a couple times by Ishant Sharma but upper-cut a six and flicked a four in Ashok Dinda's first over. That set the tone for a busy innings, taken up a level when he pulled Ishant for six from outside off stump.

While Tendulkar whisked the ball off his pads and slapped through point, Jayasuriya didn't get much strike. His first shot in anger was a chip just over extra cover's fingertips and a signature clip to fine leg followed. Mumbai were 45 for 0 in five overs. What followed was carnage.

Jayasuriya, who was on 8 as Tendulkar scurried to 30, launched Sourav Ganguly's gentle military-medium stuff for consecutive sixes; Tendulkar swept Ajantha Mendis for six; Chris Gayle went for ten in six balls; Mendis was dumped for two sixes by each batsman in his second over. Tendulkar's fourth six, a deft pick-up over midwicket off Mendis, raised his fifty from 34 balls. Jayasuriya had blasted 33 from 13 balls. The 100 was up in 8.4 overs. When the tactical break was taken Tendulkar was 60 off 39 and Jayasuriya 43 off 21, Mumbai 111 for 0.

For a man who has only played one international Twenty20, Tendulkar batted with amazing fluency. He got the wrists into play superbly, pulling and cutting hard, and used his crease to negotiate the pacers. Mendis wasn't even allowed to settle; Gayle was effortlessly reverse-swept.

There were no crude shots, no cross-batted slogs from Tendulkar and Jayasuriya. This was clinical hitting - each veteran knew the field and backed himself to pick the gaps. It was the experience of 1138 combined international games coming together in a mesmerizing mosaic of boundaries. In between clearing his front leg to lift Mendis there were clever late dabs from Tendulkar, neat tickles from Jayasuriya.

That assault was in stark contrast to the second half of Mumbai's innings, when Kolkata regrouped. The scoring slowed after the break and Tendulkar fell to Laxmi Shukla, looking to take the ball from off stump and work it to leg. Harbhajan Singh strode in, clubbed 18 from 8 balls, and sent a full toss to deep midwicket. Jayasuriya looked for width but instead chipped to cover for 52 from 32 balls. Then Abhishek Nayar was run out, Dwayne Bravo top-edged to the deep, and Shikhar Dhawan edged Ishant. Gayle bowled a decent last over and Mumbai were unable to end on with a flurry.

Kolkata needed almost 9.5 runs an over inside a stadium rumbling like a Jay Z amplifier, and the pressure of chasing a large total under lights affected the Kolkata openers early in their innings. Brendon McCullum shouldered arms to his first ball before he steered Lasith Malinga to point. Gayle thumped Bravo for the 150th six in the IPL only to edge his West Indian team-mate to slip.

Sourav Ganguly wasn't allowed to come onto the front foot and so he used his feet to loft Bravo down the ground for six and four, and with that try for some momentum. But Ganguly struggled to find the boundaries thereafter and Brad Hodge never really threatened with 24 off 22 balls. Both were to fall against the tidy seam-up bowling of Nayar in successive overs, the last nail firmly hammered into Kolkata's coffin.

Nayar, Bravo, Zaheer Khan and Malinga didn't have to do much but keep it near the stumps and wait for an urgent shot. Each struck rather easily and the rest of the batting card made for disappointing reading as Kolkata fell short by 92 runs. From 71 for 3 when Hodge fell, Kolkata folded for 95 in 15.2 overs.

A powerful batting display was followed by an efficient, shining effort in the field, aptly demonstrating that Mumbai pretty much have all the bases covered.

Jayasuriya, Sachin run riot as Mumbai Indians trounce Kolkata Knight Riders

The Mumbai Indians hammered the Kolkata Knight Riders by 92 runs in game 17 of the IPL at Port Elizabeth tonight.

“It’s a rare treat for us…we are not going to see this everyday,” gushed a South African journalist as Sachin Tendulkar and Sanath Jayasuriya inundated St George’s Park with a flurry of boundaries and sixes.

Half centuries from the legendary opening pair of Tendulkar and Jayasuriya helped Mumbai reach a mammoth 187/6 from their 20 overs, before ‘Slinga' Malinga and the rest of the Mumbai pace attack routed the Kolkata batting for just 95.

With Tendulkar winning the toss, it was no surprise to see him decide to bat first, with Port Elizabeth being notoriously famous for being very difficult to bat under lights.

Tendulkar and Jayasuriya opened the batting for the Indians, up against a back in-form Ishant Sharma, who took 2-36 in that heart-breaker of a game against the Rajasthan Royals in Kolkata's last outing.

The Knight Riders made one change to their line-up, dropping an out-of-form Ajit Agarkar in favour of Ashok Dinda, who had himself made way for medium pacer Anureet Singh in the previous game.

The Knight Riders lost Anureet Singh to a twisted ankle in the very first over, as the youngster dived to stop a beautifully timed glance from Tendulkar. It was to be a big blow for the Kolkata team, as the rest of the bowling was ripped to shreds on the night.

After scoring just 4 runs from an impressive first over from Sharma, the Indians exploded in the 2nd, as Tendulkar smashed the first ball he faced from Dinda for a 6 over a third-man. He continued to plunder runs in Dinda's opening over, hitting the medium-pacer for another boundary to take the Indians to 15 for no loss at the end of the second over.

An outstanding third over by Ishant Sharma was ruined by a wide which went for four, and a short delivery on the final ball which Sachin graciously reunited with the boundary hoardings. Sharma had earlier beating Tendulkar thrice in the over, for the last time tonight.

Dinda was hit out of the attack as he went for 12 in his second over, Jayasuriya and Tendulkar tearing the inexperienced pacer apart.

Ishant was brought on for his third over, as McCullum, now desperate for a break through went for broke. Tendulkar however was in no mood for forgiveness as he dragged a ball from well outside the off stump over deep midwicket for a huge six.

Jayasuriya got into the act too, hitting first change Saurav Ganguly for a 16 in his first over. Tendulkar then went after Ajantha Mendis in his opening over, hitting the Sri Lankan mystery spinner out of the ground with a huge slog sweep.

McCullum turned to West Indian skipper Chris Gayle for respite, but Jayasuriya planted Gayle's second ball on the fine leg roof.

The Mumbai Indians raced to an imperious 86 for no loss in just 8 overs.

Tendulkar and Jayasuriya continued the carnage in the following over hitting Mendis for a six each. Tendulkar also brought up his half-century in the same over, off just 34 balls.

Tendulkar and Jayasuriya safely negotiated the curse of the 11th over, taking just 7 runs off it. Jayasuriya got to his 50th the following over, taking just 26 balls to reach the landmark. Jayasuriya had almost gone unnoticed at the other end, with Tendulkar having most of the early strike; his half-century was amazingly 8 balls faster than Sachin's.

Laxmi Ratan Shukla proved that he was lucky bowler no. 7 for the Kolkata Knight Riders finally picking up the wicket of Tendulkar, shuffling across his stumps, only to be caught plumb in front for 68 off just 45 balls, an innings which included four 6s and six 4s.

Harbhajan Singh was promoted up the order to no. 3 with a license to thrill. He did just that for the few overs that he survived smashing 18 off 8 before he hit one straight down the throat of deep midwicket off Brad Hodge.

In the following over, Laxmi Shukla picked up his second big wicket of the day, getting rid of Sanath Jayasuriya, caught at backward point trying to accelerate the scoring rate.

The wickets kept tumbling for Mumbai as Kolkata mounted a spirited comeback. Abhishek Nayar ran himself out for just 3, and Dwayne Bravo also fell for the same score trying to heave the ball into the crowd.

Laxmi Ratan Shukla picked up his third wicket of the match, getting Shikhar Dhawan for 12, as the Knight Riders made a match of the encounter in the last few overs.

The Mumbai Indians though setting a record total of 187 for 6 at Port Elizabeth could and probably should have got more than 200 given their start. With the last five overs going for just 36 runs, the Kolkata Knight Riders would have believed that they were still very much in this game, especially if they were to get a good start from their big three - Gayle, McCullum and Ganguly.

The Kolkata Knight Riders however made a sedate start, looking to play themselves in under the difficult lights at Port Elizabeth. Malinga picked up the first wicket of the innings with the last ball of the second over, McCullum playing a tad too early to a ball that appeared to grip the surface, and JP Duminy taking a great catch diving forward at short point.

Chris Gayle responded in perfect fashion, hitting the 150th six of the tournament, dispatching a short one from Dwayne Bravo deep into the crowd over the longest boundary in the stadium.

Bravo made a brave effort off his own bowling when Chris Gayle chipped one back in the direction of the bowler. The chance however cost his team nothing as Gayle edged the next ball straight through to Sachin Tendulkar standing at one-and-a-half-slip.

Kolkata got their act together in the 5th over, taking 15 off it as Ganguly and Hodge got stuck into Dwayne Bravo.

Tendulkar rather surprisingly brought on Harbhajan Singh to bowl the last over with the fielding restrictions, and Ganguly took full toll of his former Indian teammate, dispatching him for a couple of boundaries through that magical off-side of his.

Zaheer Khan, who had been only used for the one over so far, was brought back by Tendulkar to stem the run flow, and the Indian pace ace responded to his captain's call, giving away just 3 runs off the seventh over.

Ganguly and Hodge took Kolkata through to 70 for 2 till the strategy-break, but the Knight Riders were dealt a killer blow losing Brad Hodge clean bowled by Abhishek Nayar for 24 off the second ball of the 11th over.

Running out of options with the required run rate climbing through the roof, Ganguly tried to take the attack to Abhishek Nayar, but only succeeded in hitting the ball miles high, presenting an easy catch to Dwayne Bravo in the covers.

Nayar made it a second one for the over as Arindam Ghosh fell for a golden duck, caught by Tendulkar at short midwicket.

As everything he touched turned to gold, Tendulkar kept wringing the changes, and each one resulted in a wicket. Dwayne Bravo picked up his second of the game, and then Zaheer Khan rather surprisingly his first of the tournament so far.

In a perfect finale to the match Lasith Malinga cleaned up the tail completely, knocking over the last couple of wickets to bring an early end to proceedings. The Kolkata Knight Riders were a shameful 95 all out, and Mumbai climbed back up to 3rd in the table with a crunching 92 run victory.

A visibly delighted Tendulkar spoke after the game, "Everything went according to plan. Maybe we could have got to 200, but everything else went right."

Monday, April 27, 2009

I’m still good for the new format : Jayasuriya | Interview

The physio and masseur of the Mumbai Indians team have to pay special attention to Sanath Jayasuriya. The Sri Lankan gets a good rubdown after practice and it's understandable because at 39, he is one of the oldest cricketers in international cricket.

Despite having relinquished his place in the Test XI to help youngsters, Jayasuriya continues to be a force in ODIs and T20. The following are excerpts from a chat with the Hindustan Times.

T20 was widely regarded as a young man's game. How does it feel to have hit that notion out of the park?

I'm very happy to see that many of the guys doing well are the experienced ones. For me, it's a lot of hard work to keep pace with this version of the game. Since I have to bat, bowl and field, it takes a big toll on the body. Apart from the physical hard work, there are mental adjustments as well. The fact that after so many years in international cricket, I'm still good for the new form of the game gives me a lot of satisfaction.

Apart from the physical hard work, what kind of mental adjustments does a senior player like you have to make?

It's not very different from what you do ahead of a Test match or a 50-over match. The only difference is there is no time to think. You have to take instant decisions and think really fast because everything around you is happening so quickly.

Non-cricketing elements form a major part of the IPL. Do you enjoy it?

That's mostly for the public. For us, it's a question of concentrating on the game like we do in any other competition.

But at the end of the day, we too enjoy the things which go on around the game. It's a nice experience to be part of the IPL because of these additional activities.

How different is it this time in South Africa compared to the way you spent your spare time in Mumbai last year?

I do miss the kind of stuff we used to do in Mumbai…going out with friends and explore what Mumbai had to offer.

But I watch a lot of TV, news from around the world in particular, which is taking up a lot of my time over here. I'm also very fond of Sri Lankan music and carry my CDs. That keeps me busy when I'm not playing or training.

How conscious are you of the fact that you have to constantly compete with youngsters?

It's not something that I think about. Working hard comes naturally to me and I don't think of the competition from youngsters as long as I'm doing what I should do.

From making it to the Sri Lanka team as a left-arm spinner to establishing yourself as one of the most feared opening batsman of your time, how do you look back at the journey?

It's been really nice and I'm proud of it. I come from Moratua which had nothing in terms of infrastructure when I grew up.

It was a journey which required a lot of hard work and in the end I've been rewarded for it. When I look back, I think how difficult it was and am happy to see that the hard work paid off in the end.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Spin has a huge role to play in Twenty20 cricket | Column by Sanath Jayasuriya



WHEN Twenty20 cricket arrived a few years ago it was commonly felt that it would suit seam bowlers rather than spinners, big hitters rather than those batsmen with classic techniques, and young players rather than experienced pros. One week into the second IPL and those early predictions have been shown to be wide of the mark.

Indeed, we have witnessed three clear trends. First, spin has a huge role to play in T20 cricket. Second, on good pitches with a fair balance between bat and ball you cannot just slog. Thirdly, experience can be a precious commodity in this high-pressure format.

During the first week we have seen starring roles from several of the tournament’s older players. Sachin Tendulkar set the tone for the Mumbai Indians. Rahul Dravid, relieved of the captaincy, has been brilliant for Royal Challengers. Sourav Ganguly fired for the Knight Riders.

Adam Gilchrist has been on-song for Hyderabad and Mathew Hayden certainly does not look like he has been fishing and surfing these last few months since his retirement.

Of course, you need to be fit and athletic even if you are an oldie (like me). When you are in your mid to late 30s you need to work much harder on your fitness. But the key thing is that the experience you have gathered over the years helps navigate yourself through tight situations. As a batsman, your shot selection improves and your risk-taking is better calculated.

Seeing the spinners do well has also been very encouraging. This year there has been quite a bit of turn and bounce. That has helped even the parttimers like Kevin Pietersen and Yousuf Pathan. If you look at the stats for the best economy rates in the tournament you’ll notice that seven out of the top 14 bowlers are spinners. That’s terrific.

The great fear about T20 cricket was that we’d lose some of the variety that makes cricket so compelling. However, encouragingly, the trend we are seeing here in South Africa seems to be the opposite.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ajantha was the wrong choice | Column by Sanath Jayasuriya



We’ve the allround skills to beat Hyderabad

ON Thursday night, the Mumbai Indians celebrated Sachin’s 36th birthday with a small party. His birthday is now part of our IPL social calendar, but the main difference from last year was the fact that Sachin is fully fit this year and leading from the front.

That’s made us a far stronger team. We missed Sachin last year in the first half of the competition and only really started winning properly once he returned. It was no coincidence. His value as our premier batsman and our leader is immense. Everything is built around him.

He is now 36, but that is not too old when you are as fit as he is. He is far from finished and I see no reason why he could not play another World Cup in 2011. He is batting brilliantly, as he showed in our opening game with a masterful little innings, and has plenty more runs in the tank. I enjoy playing with him because his cool and calm manner ensures a relaxed and laid-back team.

He has seen everything in cricket during the last two decades and there is never even a whiff of panic. His teammates feed off that. You need to be relaxed to play your best cricket.

I hope we can now give him a proper birthday treat with a strong performance against Team Hyderabad on Saturday night. It’s been a slow tournament for us after the first clash with Chennai and the wash-out against Team Jaipur, so we are eager to get back on the park. It’s obviously an important game for us. Team Hyderabad look a different outfit from last year.

They have a sense of purpose and some key players — Adam Gilchrist, Rohit Sharma and Fidel Edwards — are looking good. I imagine it will be a tight game, but I’m confident we have the all-round skills to beat them. This year we have good balance and variety in the XI.

Hopefully, though, it will not be quite as tight as the thriller on Thursday night between Team Jaipur and Knight Riders.

That was a breath-taking game. Both teams had their moments, Knight Riders will be really disappointed that they did not win outright and then also squandered their chances in the Super Over. Chris Gayle had set them up beautifully and a target of 16 is very challenging. However, I thought the decision to give Ajantha (Mendis) the ball was a mistake.

He bowled brilliantly earlier in the night and we all know he is a matchwinner, but the dew factor made the move high risk. Personally, I think a seamer was needed and Ishant Sharma was the best candidate.

- Sanath Jayasuriya

Duminy not intimidated by Sachin, Sanath | Mumbai Indians Team news

Johannesburg: South Africa batting star JP Duminy is feeling the pressure of playing behind superstars Sachin Tendulkar and Sanath Jayasuriya in the elite Mumbai Indians batting line-up in the Indian Premier League (IPL), a Sports24 report has revealed.

“It is an amazing feeling to be in a team with such big reputations. But it is pressurising to come in at three or four and bat behind Jayasuriya and Tendulkar, especially considering their quality and experience,” Duminy told.

However, Duminy insists that the top-quality players do not unnerve him in his new team.

“I have become used to playing with such top cricketers, especially with my series in Australia, so I don’t feel intimidated. We are team-mates, afterall”, Duminy laughed.

Duminy, one of the stars of the historic South African test and one-day series victory in Australia earlier this year, was bagged for a mammoth 950 000 dollars by the Mumbai Indians franchise impressed with the talent he displayed during the Australian tour.

“It was obviously a dream of mine to be part of the IPL. Of course I didn’t expect that price tag, but I am very chuffed to be here, and I am really looking forward to the challenges ahead”, he said.

The Mumbai Indians have emerged as one of the tournament favourites following an emphatic victory over last year’s finalists, the Chennai Super Kings, in the opening game of the IPL in Cape Town.

Their second game, against the Rajasthan Royals, was a non-starter with intermittent rain resulting in the game being abandoned.

Mumbai’s next match in the IPL is against the Deccan Chargers on April 25.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I can’t believe Jayasuriya is 40 : Nita Ambani

Sanath Jayasuriya's enthusiasm and energy levels have a fan in team owner Nita Ambani

DURBAN: “When I watch Sanath Jayasuriya on the field, I find him so agile that he can put a 20-year-old to shame. I can’t believe that he is 40,” says Mumbai Indians co-owner Nita Ambani, who is on a high after the team’s win against Chennai Super Kings in the inaugural match of the DLF Indian Premier League on Saturday.

In awe for the seniors in her team, Nita Ambani feels that seniors like Sachin Tendulkar and Sanath Jayasuriya were brilliant in their first match and players like them have a vital role to play for her team.

“The seniors have done quite well, Sachin proving to be the master. We have a great bowling attack in Zaheer Khan, Lasith Malinga and Harbhajan Singh and since bowlers have been playing a vital role for their teams so far, we do have an advantage,” says Nita Ambani, stating that she was more involved with her team this year than last season.

“Since our first two matches against last year’s runners-up Chennai Super Kings and defending champions Rajasthan Royals, I deliberately asked (husband) Mukesh to be with me for his support,” she says. “It is fun interacting with the owners of other teams away from home. The great atmosphere here is great. It’s more like a family where we keep exchanging notes. IPL is getting great support from the South Africans and that’s good for the game,” she says.

Admiring mentor Shaun Pollock’s contribution to her team, Nita Ambani said Mumbai Indians never wanted to lose Pollock even though he was injured. “Shaun is a fantastic cricketer and a great human being. I never wanted to lose Shaun and since he could not play due to back injury, we offered him the coach’s post, which he accepted.”

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sanath Jayasuriya & Sachin Tendulkar | Batsmen who have scored centuries in the most countries

Most players would part with an arm and a leg to have 12 ODI centuries, but Sanath Jayasuriya and Tendulkar have scored centuries in that many countries.

Jayasuriya has played ODIs in 15 countries, and the ones in which he hasn't scored a hundred are Kenya, Morocco and Zimbabwe, where he's played six, five and 11 matches respectively.

Tendulkar missed out in Canada, Ireland, Kenya and the West Indies.

Scoring an ODI hundred in the most nations.

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VICTORY Premiere in Colombo - Picture Gallery | Sanath Jayasuriya attends Premiere

VICTORY Premiere in Colombo - Picture Gallery

Images taken on :

Monday, February 2, 2009

The much awaited film Victory has finally released, and soon after the Mumbai premiere director Ajitpal Mangat and the cast of the film, Amrita Rao, Harman Baweja, Gulshan Grover headed to Colombo for a special premiere for the Indian and Sri Lankan cricket teams Photo Gallery,Pictures, Images, Premiere of Victory in Colombo Photo Gallery

Sachin's hunger for runs unnerving : Jayasuriya | Interview

CAPE TOWN: One is on the brink of his 40’s and the other is still four years away from the wrong age. Both have their bags full with experiences and achievements and both of them are all praise as it comes to describe the other. The other day, it was Sachin who poured out his heart in admiration of the Sri Lankan ace; today it is Jayasuriya who, opens up to a TOI correspondent and returns his compliments for the master blaster.

When you speak to a cricketer who’s 39, has 110 Tests and a whopping 432 ODIs under the belt, nostalgia is bound to creep into the

You’ve watched him play for so many years, admired those thunderous drives on both sides of the wicket and secretly hated his guts because he brought the Indian attack to its knees on so many occasions. Sanath Jayasuriya is still going strong, and Mumbai Indians must be thanking their stars that the dashing opener in on their sides.

On Tuesday, Tendulkar spoke to TOI in an exclusive chat and explained what makes Jayasuriya special. On Wednesday, it was Jayasuriya turn to return the compliment.


Tell us something you’ve learnt about Sachin Tendulkar over the years...

When you talk about the gentleman’s game, he’s the perfect brand ambassador. Sachin is one of the calmest players in the game. He is so grounded, cool-headed and immensely talented.

What makes Sachin special?

Don’t ask me to start explaining what Sachin is like with the bat in hand. I don’t have words to do that. He’s the master, technically the best. His hunger for runs, the hunger for success, is unmatched.

But is it just about the runs or is there more to it? His attitude towards the game...

Yes, that makes him that more special. His approach to batting is simple and yet so dominating. Over the years, I’ve seen Tendulkar improvise, learn, adjust, dominate... just about everything. And he’s gone about doing it so quietly. He has always wanted to be the best; his hunger, the appetite can be very unnerving if you’re playing against him.

Have the two of you given yourselves particular roles as openers in IPL?

We decided that I’d go after the bowlers while he’d play the anchor role. We want one of us to stay out there for close to 15 overs and if we can do that then either one of us has the ability to change the face of the game. If you see the Cape Town match, we didn’t panic. Sachin was there and he went on.

That gives the team the option of any of the guys walking out and playing around us. If either me or Sachin stays around, someone like Abhishek (Nayar) can come and play a few big shots towards the end. It helps immensely.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Maestro’s Salute to the Ace: Sachin on Jayasuriya | Time for Sachin to sing Jaya ho!

Sanath Jayasuriya - the batsman, who at forty is equally fierce as his heydays, is yet another all time cricket greats to the followers of the cricket. But what he is in the eyes of another maestro? An excerpt of what master blaster Sachin thinks of the cricket’s old wine Jayasuriya!

CAPE TOWN: Back in 2008, Sachin Tendulkar was in Australia gearing up for the Test and One-day series when the call came from Reliance boss Mukesh Ambani asking the master batsman his choice of players to represent the Mumbai Indians.

Before Tendulkar could think of anyone else, the one name that came to his mind instantly was that of Sanath Jayasuriya. Buy him at any cost, was the reply.

It has been a year and half now that Tendulkar and Jayasuriya are a part of one team and that too as a dream opening pair.

In the last one year, Tendulkar has seen a lot of the Matara Marauder from close quarters, closer than the times when the left-hander was at his best and also his fiercest opponent.

Today, Tendulkar has the privilege to discuss the joys of batting alongside Jayasuriya. In an exclusive chat with TOI, he spoke about the man and the legend.


Your views on Sanath Jayasuriya, the cricketer...

I had always known Sanath and admired him for his cricketing abilities. I knew him as an opponent, a fierce one, whose natural instincts make him one of the most dangerous of all times. He is a naturally gifted player and has the ability to dominate a game single-handedly. He has the shots, the power and the timing.

Now that the two of you are teammates, what is the general discussion that goes on between the two?

Of course, we discuss a lot of things between ourselves, but mostly we’ve done a lot of that over the last many years. We like to exchange notes, talk about the game in general. Now with him and me in the same squad, we discuss more about what we’re going to do as a pair. Plan ahead of the game, prepare, study the weaknesses of the opponent and strategise accordingly.

Is it decided that Jayasuriya will go after the bowlers while you will play the anchor role?

Yes, you can say that. He is very quick in getting off to aggressive starts, has a superb hand-eye coordination. So, we have mostly decided that it is he who will go after the bowlers, while I drop anchor.

Last year, you missed the first six matches. Did that hamper preparations?

It is great that we’re together this time right from the beginning. The last time, I wasn’t there, Harbhajan was missing and even Lasith (Malinga) was out. So, in a way, we were missing three key players. But this time with everybody around, there’s more freedom to try and do things differently right from the start.

Do you discuss batting with Sanath before or after every match?

With Sanath, everything is instinctive. Before the match, he might be very calm and might appear to be concentrating very hard. On the field though, he can get real destructive. He’s a responsible cricketer. However, we keep suggesting things to each other, like how to tackle a particular situation.

With the two greats joining their hands right from the start, the Mumbai franchise as well as the international cricket fraternity are waiting for some unforgettable cricket moments. After making a good head start, it is to be seen now; whether the magic of Sachin-Sanath dream partnership can take the team to the top in the Indian Premier League this season.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

‘No alternative to experience’ - Sanath Jayasuriya | Interview

He is regarded as one of the pioneers of big-hitting, though Sanath Jayasuriya believes it's his natural game and that he doesn't know any other way to play. He has made some adjustments, but the attacking brand has been his staple diet and has worked for him for years. GS Vivek gets talking to the Sri Lankan batsman in the Indian Express.

Cape Town:

Sanath Jayasuriya likes to keep himself busy at all times, and that reflects in his batting as well. The explosive Sri Lankan opener scored the first runs and the first boundary of the second IPL to get the Mumbai Indians off the blocks in the opener against the Chennai Super Kings on Saturday.

In an interview with The Sunday Express, Jayasuriya talked about playing cricket at 39, and about his special bond with Sachin Tendulkar. Excerpts:

You are regarded as the pioneer of big-hitting in modern-day cricket.

It’s nice to be identified as one of the players who started the trend. It’s my natural game and I don’t know any other way to play. I’ve made some adjustments but this attacking brand has been my staple diet. It has worked for me for years.

Who amongst the young crop do you rate as the best attacking batsman?

There are quite a few players who have come up, but Gautam Gambhir has been really good. He’s succeeded in all formats of the game. There are some others as well who are considered big hitters.

You have been around for more than a decade in international cricket. At 39, how long is it before you call it quits?

(Laughs) Don’t ask me how long. I don’t know the answer myself. As long as my body says I’m fine, I’ll keep coming back to bat. I try and take it series by series without looking at any specific period of time. It’s been going well so far, and I hope to carry on. And I’m not even the oldest player here.

But there is always the urge for a team to pack the side with youngsters.

As you get older in cricket, your performance gets scrutinised more because there are a lot of youngsters pushing for your place. One has to keep performing and the margin of error gets reduced with time. But every team needs experience, there’s no alternative for it, and many teams have realised that.

You and Sachin Tendulkar are considered the world’s most dangerous openers of this era. How is it batting together?

We speak to each other a lot, discuss how the delivery could’ve been played and how the bowler is doing. It may seem to the outside world that we’re trying to outdo each other by playing big shots, but our competition is against the other side. We just play our natural games. It’s been a great experience so far. We have a good understanding in the middle.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Tendulkar lavishes praise on Sanath Jayasuriya and Abhishek Nayar

They might have made a resounding start to their IPL campaign with a convincing win over last year's runners-up Chennai Super Kings, but Mumbai Indians skipper Sachin Tendulkar is not ready to take things for granted and wants to build on the good start.

Tendulkar, who scored an unbeaten 59 to script his team's victory in the opening match of the second edition of the Twenty20 extravaganza, said, "The start is good but it is still a long way to go. I won't take anything for granted."

Tendulkar, who was adjudged Man of the Match, said the initial overs were difficult for batting and lavished praise on Sanath Jayasuriya and Abhishek Nayar for adjusting well.

"When I lost the toss, I realised there was a dampness in the wicket. The first 6-7 overs were difficult and later on Abhishek Nayar came and played a terrific innings and my job basically was to just be there and play till the end and guys on the other end played their strokes," he said.

On being asked what could be a decent total on the South African wickets, Tendulkar said anything around 150 would make a good fight.

"Looking at about 145-150 would be a decent total. Don't look at 180 plus but if you can get into 150-160 then it could be a good total," he said.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sanath Jayasuriya | Some Special, Rare photos of Mumbai Indians

Sanath Jayasuriya | The Highest Insured Overseas Player in IPL 2

The second IPL season has been insured for a total of $286 million, more than double that of the $125-million cover last season, and includes provisions for acts of terrorism and cancelled matches. It also includes ten-fold increases, in some cases, in individual covers.

MS Dhoni, captain of Chennai Super Kings, attracts the highest individual insurance cover of $10.5 million, while Sanath Jayasuriya of the Mumbai Indians is the highest insured among overseas players, for around $6 million. The package takes into account all 120 auctioned players as well a few non-auctioned players.

The cost in premiums to the franchises is around $430,000 each.

The original plan - formulated when the tournament was to be held in India - involved a total insurance package of $219-263 million negotiated by the BCCI, broadcasters Sony Entertainment Television (SET) and the eight franchisees. That package included a $120-154 million cover for match cancellation due to standard perils, a $87-million cover for the BCCI against terror attacks and personal accident insurances for individual players.

"The sum assured has been higher this time around with the tournament moving overseas," Reena Bhatnagar, deputy general manager of Oriental Insurance Corporation (OIC), the IPL's insurers, told Cricinfo. "The details of the package are similar to those signed last year, and will provide covers not just due to terrorism, but take into account other factors like accidents during travel, flights etc as well."

The width of the individual player insurance covers - the figures are decided by the franchises - ranges from $2.5 million to $10.5 million. Dhoni commands the highest, followed by Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Yuvraj Singh. "That Dhoni has been placed above Tendulkar or Ganguly, is entirely their [franchises'] perception," Bhatnagar said. "It is the IPL organizers who then decide and provide us the values."

The new figures are more than six times those for the previous season, when the individual covers ranged from $380,000 and $1 million. Dhoni still led the pack, with Tendulkar, Ganguly and Andrew Symonds following behind. The policies for non-auctioned and junior players were between $120-250,000.

The entire package is totally reinsurance-driven, meaning that OIC would seek to protect itself with other insurance companies against the risk of losses during the tournament. "With such a large package signed up, it was beyond the capacity of the Indian insurers," Bhatnagar said. "We had to travel the reinsurance route and tap the London market."

A match cancellation cover includes non-payment by sponsors and broadcasters in case a match gets cancelled. It also insures budget match expenses, or the expenses incurred by franchisees for preparing the stadium field. The loss of baggage cover means that players will be paid the cost of their belongings, in case they misplace them during the course of the tournament. The policies will be effective from the time the players leave for the tournament till they return home.

The IPL's second edition will be played from April 18- May 24, spanning 37 days

Abhishek XI triumphs over Jayasuriya XI in the practice match gearing up for the IPL season 2

16-Apr-2009 07:25PM
With just days to go before the IPL 2 begins, the Mumbai Indians decided to bring out their guns and fire them up. The picture perfect Chatsworth Cricket Ground, a 40-minute ride away from Durban was the venue for the practice match.

Nearly the entire squad, except for the Indian triumvirate of Sachin, Harbhajan and Zaheer, participated in the T20 match played between Sanath Jayasuriya XI and Abhishek Nayar XI. The other players missing were Dhawal Kulkarni, who had just returned from the tour of New Zealand, and JP Duminy, who was with the South African national team on duty in the ODI series against the visiting Aussies.

The match was a perfect chance for the young players to make their case for inclusion in the Final XI, which will step onto the Newlands ground at Cape Town in the opening match of IPL 2 to face Chennai Super Kings on Saturday, April 18.

Wicket keeper batsman Luke Ronchi from Australia provided a blazing start for Abhishek XI as he slammed 46 runs from just 39 balls. Supporting him was Essex all rounder Graham Napier who made 42 runs in 39 balls. Facing an experienced bowling attack of Dwayne Bravo, Dilhara Fernando, Kyle Mills and Jayasuriya, the relatively inexperienced players did well to post a fighting total of 159 in their innings.

The Lankan duo of Jayasuriya and Fernando picked up two wickets apiece while Bravo and Mills got one each to restrict Abhishek XI to a gettable total. But Graham Napier continued his showing with the ball too, as he snared 3/13. Jayasuriya let loose with a quick 22 before Bravo made a dogged unbeaten 52. But in the end, Jayasuriya XI still fell short by 32 runs. Jude Singh played brilliantly against the spinners, hitting them out of the ground before falling to one of the quicker bowlers.

Lasith Malinga, returning from an injury, which kept him out of international cricket for a year looked fit, hungry and bowled as if the one year layoff had never happened. Fernando was consistent in his spells and had the results to show for it. Pinal Shah had a good outing behind the stumps; the results of the South African training stint showed, as he pulled off some deft glove work. Ryan McLaren worked up a good rhythm, hitting perfect lengths while bowling and hitting hard while batting to reveal a good T20 prospect. Bravo’s wicket and fifty showed that the international players were all fit and firing, which means Sachin will have a lot to choose from.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Mumbai Indians | Mission Possible with the greatest opening pair - Sanath Jayasuriya and Sachin Tendulkar

Maximum: Sanath Jayasuriya hit the most sixes in IPL's first season

Sachin Tendulkar was fit only for the second half of the season, while his countrymate Harbhajan Singh got himself banned for slapping Sreesanth, of Kings XI Punjab, in the face. And while Shaun Pollock, of South Africa, did his best as the third-choice captain, it can’t have been easy inheriting a demoralised team that had lost its first three games.

Pollock may feel more comfortable in his new role as coach, particularly as the Indians are shaping up more convincingly this time around. They have done a couple of smart swap deals that have brought in Zaheer Khan from Bangalore and Shikhar Dhawan from Delhi — two very handy signings. And the $950,000 that they spent on South Africa’s Jean-Paul Duminy at the international player auction is looking even better business now than it did a few weeks ago. With a strong South African influence in the side, Mumbai should be able to compete with anybody when it comes to local knowledge.

English fans will be hoping to see a few appearances from Graham Napier, the sensation of last year’s domestic Twenty20 Cup. He is a good example of what can be achieved by players who specialise. Since Essex told him to focus on developing his one-day skills, at the start of the 2008 season, he has been a revelation.

Mumbai already have the leading six-hitter of the 2008 IPL in the shape of Sanath Jayasuriya — unquestionably their player of the year. When Jayasuriya batted with Tendulkar, the Indians were able to get away to some flying starts: their average opening stand realised 57 runs from just six overs.
The target this year should be to capitalise better on those early blitzes, and the presence of Napier and Dwayne Bravo, of the West Indies, in the squad should come in handy there.
Look out too for the spinners: Harbhajan through the middle of the innings, and India’s experienced slow left-armer Nilesh Kulkarni, now in his 15th season of top-flight cricket. There are few more under-rated players in the game.

Oddly, the shift away from India might help Mumbai relax a little more. There is a certain pressure that comes with representing the biggest and proudest city in the country. And the pitches at their home grounds weren’t always the easiest to play on, either. When they are let out in Cape Town, on the opening night of the 2009 tournament, they could find they play with a new-found freedom.

Key man: Sanath Jayasuriya

Likely starting XI: Sanath Jayasuriya, Sachin Tendulkar, Shikhar Dhawan, JP Duminy, Dwayne Bravo, Abhishek Nayar, Yogesh Takawale (wk), Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Dhawal Kulkarni, Lasith Malinga.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sanath Jayasuriya holds the record for the most fours and sixes in the IPL

Sanath Jayasuriya of Mumbai Indians, the oldest player in the IPL, holds the record for the most sixes - 31.

Sanath Jayasuriya hit more fours than anyone else in the IPL. He hit a total of 57 boundaries.

Team Preview : Mumbai Indians

Performance in IPL 2008

Mumbai had a disastrous start, losing their first four games to Bangalore, Chennai, Punjab and Hyderabad but bounced back remarkably well before ultimately failing to make it to the semi-finals.

After four successive defeats, Mumbai won their next six games on the trot - the best streak of the tournament- as they appeared to peak at just the right time.

Mumbai will rue their 1-run defeat to Punjab since it not only ended their winning streak but also their hopes of a semi-final berth as the team seem to lose momentum. Two more defeats followed before Mumbai beat lowly Bangalore to finish in fifth position.

Who's in, who's out

Mumbai shopped for South African sensation Jean-Paul Duminy in this year's auction and splashed out an eye-popping USD 950,000 to acquire the stylish southpaw.

New Zealander Kyle Mills (USD 150,000) and Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful (USD 75,000) were part of their signings.

Mumbai was also involved in two swaps, trading Robin Uthappa for Zaheer Khan with Bangalore and Shikhar Dhawan for Ashish Nehra with Delhi. Jaydev Shah was also added to the roster while Dwayne Smith, Dominic Thornely and Ashwell Prince were released from their contracts. Shaun Pollock will not return as a player after taking up the role of the coach.

Mumbai also signed Graham Napier and Ryan McLaren, both prolific all-rounders in the English Twenty20 competition.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Shikhar Dhawan seeks tips from Jayasuriya, Sachin

Sachin Tendulkar, Shikar Dhawan and Sanath Jayasuriya

Far from being disappointed at having to leave his home team Delhi Daredevils, young batsman Shikhar Dhawan says he is excited about playing alongside idols Sachin Tendulkar and Sanath Jayasuriya in Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League this year.

The 23-year-old, who was exchanged for Ashish Nehra by Delhi Daredevils, said he is looking forward to getting some batting tips from Tendulkar and Jayasuriya.

"I am excited about playing for Mumbai Indians as I will get an opportunity to learn from Tendulkar and Jayasuriya," Dhawan told.

"Whenever I get an opportunity, I will speak to them. Just being with Tendulkar is enough to inspire a player. Jayasuriya is a left-hander like me and his suggestions would definitely help improve my game," he said.

On the IPL being shifted to South Africa due to general elections in India, Dhawan said although he would miss playing in front of passionate fans in the country, he was excited about playing on the fast tracks in South Africa.

"I have never played in South Africa. I would try my best to do well which will also help me get into the national fold. Ultimately, it's playing for the country that matters," he said.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Jayasuriya among Sri Lanka's probables for T20 WC

An ageing Sanath Jayasuriya is among the 30 probables in the Sri Lankan squad for the Twenty20 World Cup in June in England.

Jayasuriya, who will be touching 40 by the time the tournament ends, was the eldest member in the Twenty20 World Championship in South Africa in 2007 and this time around, he is likely to retain the tag of becoming the 'Grandfather' of Twenty20 cricket.

At the age of 38 in the 2007 World Cup, Jayasuriya scored 467 runs. He retired from the longer version of the game during the first Test against England in Kandy in 2007-08. In January 2009, during the first ODI against India, he became the second player to cross 13,000 ODI runs, and at 39 years and 212 days, became the oldest man to score an ODI century.

Kumar Sangakkara will lead the side while Muttiah Muralitharan will be his deputy. The list will be pruned to 15.

The 35-year-old Chaminda Vaas is also among the probables and is likely to spearhead the bowling attack.

Probables: Kumar Sangakkara (captain), Muttiah Muralitharan (vice captain), Sanath Jayasuriya, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene, Chamara Kapugedera, Jehan Mubarak, Chamara Silva, Angelo Mathews, Farveez Maharoof, Nuwan Kulasekara, Thilan Thushara, Lasith Malinga, Chaminda Vaas, Ajantha Mendis, Kaushal Weeraratne, Upul Tharanga, Isuru Udana, Dilhara Lokuhettige, Chintaka Jayasinghe, Nuwan Zoysa, Gihan Rupasinghe, Thilina Kandamby, Malinga Bandara, Dilhara Fernando, Indika de Saram, Thisara Perera, Gayan Wijekoon, Milinda Siriwardene, Lahiru Thirimanne.

Download IPL Mumbai Indians Team Theme Song [320kbps]-MP3 | Sanath Jayasuriya Blogspot

Mumbai Indians Theme Song - "Ala Re"

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