The preparation of former IPL champions Mumbai Indians for the eight edition of the T20 tournament gathered pace yesterday as newly recruited bowling coach Shane Bond joined the side.
Shane Bond. Pic/Atul Kamble
Bond was the bowling coach of New Zealand, which lost in the final of the World Cup to Australia but quit that post to join MI ahead of the IPL8 season commencing on April 8. The 39-year-old Bond's career was wrecked by injuries that prevented him from playing more than 18 Tests in which he snapped up 87 wickets with his express pace and 82 ODIs (147 wickets) between 2001 and 2010 before retiring.
Bond had played in the IPL in 2010 for Kolkata Knight Riders who are the defending champions now. MI's fleet of fast bowlers - including Karnataka's Ranji Trophy-winning duo of R Vinay Kumar and Abhimanyu Mithun - has the ideal chance to pick his brains and develop their armoury during the IPL season that extends up to May 24.
The team, including captain Rohit Sharma, West Indian all rounder Kieron Pollard and spin spearhead Harbhajan Singh, practiced for the second day under lights at the Wankhede Stadium here. Team owner Nita Ambani interacted with the players and the support staff which includes head coach and former Australia captain Ricky Ponting and fielding coach Jonty Rhodes of South Africa.
The team awaits the arrival of Australia's World Cup winning team members Aaron Finch and Josh Hazlewood, along with Sri Lankan sling-arm pacer Lasith Malinga, New Zealand all-rounder Corey Anderson and pacer Mitchell McClenaghan, India's Ambati Rayudu, West Indian Lendl Simmons and South African Marchant de Lange.
Barring Simmons, Hazlewood and Marchant de Lange, the others are expected to arrive in time for tomorrow's practice game under lights, said a team source. The squad is set to leave for Kolkata on April 6 ahead of the opening game against title holders KKR on April 8 at the Eden Gardens.