Mumbai, Apr 1: Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting is excited to play with Sachin Tendulkar and Harbhajan Singh in the sixth edition of IPL (IPL 6).
Ponting, who was picked by Mumbai Indians at this year's players' auction for $400,000, has been named the captain of the franchise. The right-handed Australia is likely to open the batting with Tendulkar.
Speaking to the media on Sunday (March 31), Ponting said it will be exciting to play alongside Tendulkar and Harbhajan against whom he has had "great battles" at the international level.
"To be captain of any franchise is exciting but to think that I am the captain of Mumbai Indians and I will be playing alongside Tendulkar and Harbhajan, some of the guys I have had great battles over the years, as well as some of my Australian team-mates and some of the young local Indian talent I have come across in the last couple of days is great," Ponting said.
He said that Mumbai had a strong leadership group in coach John Wright, mentor Anil Kumble and himself.
"With Mumbai now, we have John Wright, a successful ex-India coach, and Anil Kumble, a successful Indian captain and a very very good Indian player and leader. Obviously, me coming into the set up, we have put together a really strong leadership group, if you like," Ponting added.
"And if you think of some of the other guys we have around like Sachin and Harbhajan, we have got a lot of experience and lot of skill around the team. I think it is very exciting for the tournament," Ponting said.
On the team's opening match against Royal Challengers Bangalore on April 4, he said: "As far as I am concerned, there is no better franchise to be with and no better team to be with than the Mumbai Indians. The three days that I have been here, there has been a lot of excitement around the boys and around the team and the way we have trained over the last three days, it has been exciting. It's fair to say that everyone in our squad is excited about our opening game on fourth.
"I think the biggest challenge so far has been getting the squad of players together. We have got international players playing all around the world and a lot of those guys are coming together a lot late.".