Eden Gardens decked up Kolkata (PTI): Even as preparations are on at the Salt Lake stadium for the opening ceremony of the upcoming IPL T20...

Eden Gardens decked up legf2Kolkata (PTI): Even as preparations are on at the Salt Lake stadium for the opening ceremony of the upcoming IPL T20 extravaganza, defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders on Tuesday began the countdown with the season's first practice session at the Eden Gardens. Captain Gautam Gambhir, who is down with jaundince, did not attend the session and assistant coach Vijay Dahiya was seen playing the role of the mentor to the likes of Rajat Bhatia, Pradeep Sangwan and Manvinder Bisla. "Being the defending champions, we all are motivated to repeat our performance. We all are keen and united to do well," Bisla told reporters after the practice. The 120,000 capacity stadium, also known as the Yubabharati Krirangan, will host the opening ceremony that will begin at 7.30 pm on April 2, the eve of the first match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Dare Devils, at the Eden Gardens. A huge podium is being erected, while the artificial turf is being covered with a rubber mat, where the artists will perform during the opening ceremony. "We are taking all precautions so that the astroturf (used for football matches) is not damaged," state Sports Minister Madan Mitra said after an inspection. The state government, meanwhile, has formed a 40-member committee for the development of the stadium.
RCB may miss injured Pujara
Bangalore (PTI): Cheteshwar Pujara, who injured his right index finger during the recent Test series against Australia, has put RCB in a quandary. The Saurashtra cricketer, who had a remarkable outing against Australia, is likely to miss the first four matches as he would be on rehab. Gayle, who sustained a thigh injury during West Indies' away series in Australia in February, too bounced back into form with a magnificent century - his 15th Test ton - in their home series against Zimbabwe a week ago.
Hyd sign Kerala's Prashanth
Kochi (PTI): Kerala left-arm spinner P Prasanth on Tuesday signed up for Sunrisers Hydrabad for the coming IPL season. Prasanth, who hails from Thiruvananthapuram, has been a consistant performer for Kerala in the recent past in junior and senior categories and is a member of the current team playing in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in which kerala have qualified to play in the super league, a Kerala Cricket Association press release said. In the last match against Goa, he took four wickets and won the match for Kerala.
Clarke ruled out
Melbourne (PTI): Australian captain Michael Clarke was on Tuesday ruled out of IPL, starting next week, as he has been advised to take rest for at least seven weeks under the rehabilitation programme for his chronic back injury. Clarke, who was bought by Pune Warriors for USD 4,00,000 in the IPL auctions early this year, underwent scans for his back and hamstring problems soon after he arrived home from India where his side suffered a humiliating 0-4 Test series whitewash. Cricket Australia Chief Medical Officer Justin Paoloni said that Clarke would need at least 7-10 weeks rest as part of rehabilitation programme for the degenerative disc problem that has afflicted him since 17 years of age.
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