New teams, sponsor set to roll out 'improved' IPL 9

Not even a week after West Indies lifted their second World T20 title, another T20 tournament beckons the world of cricket. This time though, the glamour quotient returns. Under a new sponsor and with two new teams, the ninth edition of the Indian Premier League gets underway Saturday with eight teams, 60 matches and over 120 players from eight different countries involved. Defending champions Mumbai Indians take on debutants Rising Pune Supergiants in the opener, where for the first time in nine years, MS Dhoni will lead a new team at the Wankhede Stadium.

He will once again have the task of containing Lendl Simmons, the man responsible for India's ouster from the World T20 after the national team failed to defend 192 at the same venue over a week ago. However, this year he'll be leading a set of different troupes, some who have played under him and some who haven't. But Dhoni, as he's proven in the past, is the man for all occasions. In the inaugural edition, he led Chennai Super Kings in the final of the tournament before winning it twice and making CSK one of the three sides to have lifted the title on two separate occasions.Overall, CSK has remained the most consistent team, and Dhoni will be keen on replicating the same success with the Supergiants.

They have some high-profile names such as Ajinkya Rahane, Australia captain Steve Smith, offspinner R Ashwin and England veteran Kevin Pietersen, all of whom are proven match-winners.On one hand, while Dhoni is in charge of one of the replacement sides, Suresh Raina, the other face of CSK will be heading the other. The most-capped IPL player, Raina will take command of the Gujarat Lions, a team that has assembled the core of CSK with the likes of Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja and Brendon McCullum in the ranks. Raina and Dhoni have been known for their well-documented camaraderie and for the first time in nine years, they'll be up against each other. Raina's experience of examining Dhoni leading from close proximity promises to rub on him.

Source TOI

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