With the start of the 2013 Indian Premier League now just 41 days away, teams are finalising their line-ups for the sixth edition of the Twenty20 competition.
Chief among them are 2010 runners-up Mumbai Indians and 2009 champions Royal Challengers Bangalore, who have appointed new captains in Ricky Ponting and Virat Kohli respectively.
Mumbai also recently recruited Anil Kumble as Chief Mentor from Bangalore and along with coach John Wright and former captain Sachin Tendulkar, he was involved in making the decision to give Ponting the skipper's role.
Having now retired from international cricket, where he led Australia to a then-record 48 Test wins as captain and two World Cups in 2003 and 2007, he is available for the duration of the tournament and is set to add to his tally of just four IPL matches, all coming back in 2008 for Kolkata Knight Riders.
"It’s a huge honour and I thank Mrs Ambani and the Mumbai Indians management for the faith they have reposed in my abilities," Ponting said.
"Mumbai Indians has the potent combination of Indian and International cricketers and I look forward to leading the team to play to its full potential."
They begin their campaign on 4th April against Bangalore, who will now be led by rising star Kohli, a man that many are already tipping him to one day lead the full India side.
The highest run-scorer in IPL history replaces New Zealand all-rounder Daniel Vettori and is one of a select few players to still be playing for the franchise they were originally picked for when the IPL began back in 2008.
In other news, Pune Warriors have snapped up off-spinner Parveez Rasool, as well as bringing in New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor in a deal which sees experienced left-arm fast bowler Ashish Nehra head in the other direction.
The opening game of the 2013 IPL season pits reigning champions Kolkata Knight Riders against the Delhi Daredevils on 3rd April. The final is in Kolkata on 26th May.
© Cricket World 2013
Open an account with bet365 today and qualify for up to £200 in free bets with our fantastic 100% Deposit Bonus.