Kumble doubtful for Inaugural IPL match: Dravid

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Bangalore, Apr 16 (UNI) Injury may force Team India's Test captain and ace leg-spinner Anil Kumble to miss the inaugural Indian Premier League (IPL) match to be played here on April 18, Royal Challengers- Bangalore captain Rahul Dravid said today.

In an interaction session with mediapersons here, he said ''Anil may probably miss the first game. However, he may be fit within next four or five days.'' Kumble has been nursing a groin injury during the just concluded home series against South Africa.

About the IPL, Dravid said it is a good opportunity for domestic players to play with foreign players and to learn more about the game. ''Everybody gets an opportunity to learn about weakness and tactics of foreign players,'' he said.

The Challengers team had a net practice yesterday and today. This had given opportunity to the players to know each other, he said.

About injured pace bowler Zaheer Khan, who had missed the series against the Proteas due to injury, Dravid said the Mumbai speedster was recovering fast and was bowling well in nets.

Dravid said competitions like IPL would encourage youngsters to perform well in Ranji and other domestic matches and attract the selectors of the eight teams to include them in the league in the future.

Challengers Cricket Manager Martin Crowe said that T20 had already established itself and nations around the world had accepted it.

''The Idea of franchise competitions is new and it gives an exciting opportunity to youngsters to pick up their game fast.

The IPL matches would certainly pose a real challenge on the part of players and the I am sure the whole cricketing will change,'' he said.

Team Coach B K Venkatesh Prasad, who is also Team India's bowling coach said that it will be a new challenge to prepare the bowlers to play in the T20. ''I love challenges and looking forward to them,'' he said.

Venkatesh Prasad said the junior players have been given instructions to interact more with each other and learn more about the game.

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