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IPL great stepping stone between first class and world cricket: Ravichandra Ashwin

Rising Pune Supergiants star off-spinner Ravichandra Ashwin

Mumbai, April 9 (UITV/IANS)- Rising Pune Supergiants star off-spinner Ravichandra Ashwin on Friday praised the Indian Premier League (IPL) and termed the country's domestic T20 tournament as a stepping stone between first class and international cricket.

Defending champions Mumbai start their ninth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign against new franchise Supergiants at the Wankhede Stadium here.

“IPL has produced lots of cricketers in the mix. It’s a very important tournament. It helps you rub shoulders with top international cricketers. It helps you to take away the pressure especially in the big moment and gives you a feeling about what international cricket could be all about. That’s a great stepping stone between first class and international cricket,” Ashwin said at the pre-match press conference here.

“In general, I think T20 cricket has probably gone a notch up. In the last year or two. The game has definitely evolved, and it is important to keep an eye on how much the game has evolved,” he added.

The 29-year-old praised the team’s batting powerhouse and England exiled batsman Kevin Pietersen to fire for the new franchise.

"I Think KP (Pietersen) is hitting the ball really well. He is one of the finest players I have seen and do well in India from a foreign batsman perspective. He has done really well in Tests as well.

"He is a great striker of the ball. I am looking forward to see him bat. We will know when the games go on -- I am sure he is good enough to do it. I am very confident,” he said.

The Tamil Nadu offie, who played for two-time champions Chennai Super Kings for the last couple of editions is now looking forward to deliver for his new franchise.

“It’s not difficult in that sense. I am certainly looking forward to it playing for a new team. In this particular franchise, everything is new for them as well. Going into IPL for the first time, they need to get the logistics, team dynamics -- because you will lose a few games as that’s the nature of this tournament

"Losing some close games also, you have to live with it and not press forward. The franchise and players working together is the biggest challenge and the best thing in this IPL,” he said.