Kings XI Punjab skipper Adam Gilchrist had said a week ago that form is a ‘rubbish’ word. The Aussie legend might have been forced to say this after his side came perilously close to eking away wins over Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings.
But his intensity at the practice session at the Sector 16 Stadium Chandigarh in sweltering conditions revealed the anxiety of a man desperate to get into the thick of things. But there is no assurance in that regard from him or the coach.
“It is up to Gilly to decide when he wants to return,” was coach Darren Lehmann’s succinct reply.
Mohali has been a happy hunting ground for his boys, barring one match when they were battered by the marauding Chennai Super Kings.
With their opposition – Rajasthan Royals – also heading into this match on the back of a convincing win, it will be interesting to see the tactics used by Punjab’s tactical brains – comprising Lehmann, Gilchrist and David Hussey – to outwit Rahul Dravid & Co.
The focus on Thursday would be on the Kings XI bowling as they have to face a Rajasthan line- up which has seen Dravid reinventing himself with delectable efficiency.
With Ajinkya Rahane playing with panache, Rajasthan have looked efficient till now.
Shane Watson has proved himself with telling contributions but the surprise packages for them have been James Faulkner and By Soumalya Santikari in Mohali Sanju Samson.
Coach Lehmann wants his team to utilise the confidence gained from the memorable victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore on Monday, heaping praise on David Miller for his whirlwind innings.
Lehamnn would be pinning his hopes on Praveen Kumar and Parvinder Awana with steady support from Manpreet Gony and Piyush Chawla.