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Hoshedar N. Gundevia in Mumbai 12 April 2012 - 02:24am IST

I’ve had a slow start: Botha

RR all-rounder keen to kick his IPL 2012 campaign into high gear

The Rajasthan Royals have made the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur a fortress that’s not easily breached by the opposition. However, their away form has been a cause for concern and that was evident on Wednesday after the Mumbai Indians beat them at the Wankhede Stadium.

RR off-spinner Johan Botha had a day to forget after conceding 22 runs in the solitary over he bowled and scoring just two runs with the bat. His performance left a lot to be desired, but the gritty Protea is keen to make amends and kick his season into high gear as soon as possible.
The 31-year-old spoke exclusively to iplt20.com after his team’s 27-run defeat at the hands of the Mumbai Indians.

Excerpts:

How is IPL 2012 going for you so far?


Personally [it’s] not the start I would have liked. I would say I have started a bit slow. There are 13 more matches to go, and it’s a long tournament. Like Warnie [Shane Warne] always used to say, you are only as good as your next match, so shape up in the good for your team.

How much influence does Shane Warne have on this side?


Not too much. He doesn’t really stay in contact. But guys do remember what he taught us or told us in four years [that he led the franchise], and we use it.

How will you guys deal with the first loss of the season?


In such along tournament [that] you are going to lose matches. But your luck is as good as your next game. Hopefully, we can bounce back pretty quickly. We have got a tough trip here, Kolkata and then Bangalore; two of the strongest teams in the IPL. If we can win those games, we would have had a great trip. We have upbeat and positive characters [in our team] and that will keep boys going.

What do you make of Kieron Pollard’s innings?


He is a very good T20 player. He has got the power. When it’s his day, he gets going and it’s hard to stop him. It was his day today, and [he] backed it well with four wickets towards the end, which slowed us down and we couldn’t quite get there.

MI have a lot of big name players and RR do not. What are your thoughts on that?

One of their big name players [Pollard] today put in a great performance of 50 off 20-odd balls and [took] four wickets. That’s massive, and when you have guys like that in the team [it] is great. Indian guys really enjoy international guys in the team and love to learn from us. We have got a great team spirit.

Spinners have dominated in the last four seasons and pacers are dominating this season. What’s the reason behind that?


I am not quite sure on that. Seamers have got a lot more variations – like slower ball, bouncers, and good lengths – than spinners. As the tournament goes on, wickets will start spinning a bit more, and spinners might get some overs back.

Were you guys confident about Owais Shah winning it for RR?

Yeah, definitely. Owais played one of the better knocks in T20s you would see. He kept us right in the game in a tough chase. 190 was never going to be easy, and he made it look so easy. It was a massive positive for us in the game. It will be great if we could help him out in a couple of games and win them.

Is skipper Rahul Dravid more focused on boosting team spirit?


I wouldn’t say ‘more’. I think Warnie was always big on team spirit, so I think we are just going to continue on that. We don’t have big name players, so we got to play together. Tonight we were not far off, if we could have finished it better there. In the past we might have fallen way short [of the target]. That shows the character of the team in 2012.

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