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IPL Staff in Jaipur 07 April 2012 - 08:05pm IST

We back young players: Botha

RR all-rounder praises Rahane, Cooper

Riding high on their win against Kings XI Punjab, the Rajasthan Royals will be looking to carry forward the momentum into upcoming games. The home team will take on the Kolkata Knight Riders in the dry heat of Rajasthan on April 8 in a late-afternoon encounter.

RR’s Johan Botha addressed the media today ahead of their training session here.

Excerpts from his press conference:

On Shane Warne and Rahul Dravid’s leadership styles

Rahul is a bit calmer than Warnie, [who] is a bit more out there and he tries probably a lot more things on the field. But I think Rahul is good for young players. He is nice and calm in the field and that rubs off on all the other guys.

On whether RR would like to save Ashok Menaria for the lower order or would they like to play him up, and whether Botha himself would like to play up the order

Ashok has really played well for Rajasthan [Royals] last season and we still back him. Like yesterday [when Menaria got out for a duck], anyone can get a low score in any form of cricket and we would probably go back and just reassess a bit. But we back him and [Ajinkya] Rahane to do the job for us up front, and [Brad] Hodge, Shaun [Marsh], [Kevon] Cooper and myself to follow them. We are backing our young guys to really do the job for us and we won’t stop backing them even if they didn’t get anything yesterday.

On whether both Adam Gilchrist and Rahul Dravid misread the pitch yesterday as both said that they would have opted to bowl first

From our point of view, we just thought about the dew [in the evening] and we thought that if we could restrict [had we won the toss and opted to bowl] Kings XI [Punjab] to 160 -165 [runs], we would be able to chase the runs. But then Rahane came in and played one of the best innings in Twenty20 cricket. [No matter] on wicket you play, 190 is a big score and if you bowl well [...] that would be good enough. So that is what did it for us yesterday.

On Kevon Cooper’s role in RR

He can obviously hit a long ball. He showed it yesterday when he scored 11 off three bowls. And I guess [when he bowls] it’s his change of pace. Even his quicker pace is sharper than you think, and I think he is going to be a massive player for us in this tournament. [...] hopefully he can keep doing it for us. We know that in any [form of] cricket you can’t do it every day. So there will be days for other guys to cover in and I will have to do a bit of job and whoever. That’s the same [thing] with Menaria. Yesterday wasn’t quite his day but tomorrow it might be his turn and he will do it [win the game] for us.

On why Shaun Tait did not play yesterday

He is available, and the only one who is struggling a little bit is Sree [S Sreesanth]. But everyone is available. So now, it’s up to the coach and the captain to decide what is the best team for the conditions and for the team we are playing against.

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