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IPL desk in Jaipur 03 April 2012 - 06:19pm IST

Dravid is composed but aggressive: Menaria

RR batsman eager to play after recovering from injury

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.

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