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RR batsman eager to play after recovering from injury
By IPL desk
Jaipur 03 April 2012
After a good showing in the domestic circuit for Rajasthan – before being sidelined due to injury – Ashok Menaria is looking forward to putting up a good performance in IPL 2012. Playing for the Rajasthan Royals, the 21-year-old is keen to make the most of the opportunity that the IPL presents.
"IPL provides a big platform to all the players, and I too wish to perform well this season and get a ticket to the Indian cricket team," Menaria was quoted as saying.
"I'm not aiming for a slot in the Indian team for the upcoming World T20 [in Sri Lanka] but my dream, like all other young cricketers, is to play for the country," he said.
Speaking about his injury status, Menaria said, "It was unfortunate that I was forced out due to my groin strain and had to undergo an operation in Germany in February. But I'm 100 per cent fit now and raring to go.
"Though missing out on matches when I was in good form was unfortunate, I don't feel it was bad luck. In fact, it taught me how to cope with the bad times," he added.
Discussing his batting style, Menaria who scored a double-hundred against the Railways in the Ranji Trophy earlier in the season on a difficult track at the Karnail Singh Stadium, said, "I like to bat in an aggressive manner. My double-hundred also had come in 200 balls. Whatever is the format, I bat in my natural style.
"Even my [Rajasthan Royals] skipper Rahul Dravid has told me to play my natural game," said the southpaw, who idolises Virender Sehwag. Dismissing age as just a number for the senior cricketers in the RR side, Menaria highlighted the experience that they bring into the team.
"[You] just have a look at the averages and strike-rates of the likes of [Brad] Hogg and [Brad] Hodge. [Johan] Botha too has amassed around 2000 runs,” he said.
"I feel we have the best experienced hands with us. [Rahul] Dravid and Shane Warne both are legends of the game and the former has been managing his resources quite well in latter's absence," he added.
"Shane Warne had his own style, but Rahul too motivates his teammates. As far as aggressiveness is considered, Rahul is cool and composed but aggressive in mind," he said about RR’s former and current skippers.
Speaking about RR’s first match of IPL 2012 against Kings XI Punjab on April 6, Menaria said, "The first match is always an important one, and if you win your confidence soars and the body language is different. I am ready to bat at any number as per the game plan of the team. We have played a number of practice matches as those provide more stimulation than nets."
Menaria also believes that the Royals are capable of repeating their feat of claiming the IPL trophy in 2008.
"It is the domestic players who form the nucleus of any team. They [Chennai Super Kings] have a set of best domestic players, which makes them a formidable unit. It is the domestic players who lend more strength to any team in the IPL," he said.
The opening fixture of IPL 2012 features two heavyweight teams – Chennai Super Kings defending champions of the Indian Premier League, lock horns with 2011 Champions League T20 winners Mumbai Indians.
Chennai Super Kings, who won the IPL title for the first time in 2010 and defended it successfully in 2011, will begin the 2012 season eyeing their third consecutive IPL title. Mumbai Indians, on the other hand, will remember the defeat at the hands of CSK in the IPL 2010 final and will want to settle scores on this occasion.
However, it would be prudent to keep an eye on Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni in the Chennai Super Kings line-up, and Sachin Tendulkar, Kieron Pollard and Lasith Malinga in the Mumbai Indians jersey. Raina thrives in the limited overs format and the T20 format gives him the freedom to play his shots from the word go. MS Dhoni is one of the best finishers in the world and though he might look pretty calm and cool outwardly, he is always in the ready-to-explode mode.
Sachin Tendulkar has got the 100th international century off his back and relinquished captaincy of the Mumbai Indians. Watch out for a doubly dangerous Tendulkar this IPL, out to enjoy his game
Pollard was in devastating form in the home series against the Australians recently and will be hoping to make up for an ordinary performance IPL 2011. Lasith Malinga was too hot to handle in IPL 2011 (when he bagged the Purple Cap); watch out as he sends stumps cartwheeling with his razor-sharp yorkers.
Both teams have shared honors evenly in the eight previous meetings between them. In the most recent clash, at the Wankhede Stadium last season, the Mumbai Indians got the better of the Chennai Super Kings by eight runs.
• This fixture will feature the top two run-getters and top two wicket-takers in the history of the IPL. Chennai Super Kings’ Suresh Raina tops the list of run-getters while Mumbai Indians’ Sachin Tendulkar is placed second on the list. On the bowling front, Mumbai Indians have the edge thanks to RP Singh and Lasith Malinga, who are placed first and second respectively on the list of leading wicket-takers in the IPL.
• Chennai Super Kings’ skipper MS Dhoni is the most experienced cricketer when it comes to leading a team in Twenty20 matches. The Jharkhand-lad has been captain in 100 T20 matches.
• In the two outings between the sides at Chennai, the home team has come out on top. What next?
Mumbai Indians will head back home after this fixture to host neighbors Pune Warriors India at the Wankhede Stadium on April 6, while the Chennai Super Kings will be seen in action the following day when they take on the Deccan Chargers at Visakhapatnam.