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Shirin Sadikot in Bengaluru 11 April 2013 - 10:01pm IST

Of Virat, Ronaldo and RCB

Moises Henriques lauds Virat’s captaincy and takes credit for putting Portugal on cricketing map

Only last month Moises Henriques was doing a fine job of establishing himself as a Test cricketer by showing character and skills with the bat on his first Test tour to India. His back-to-the-wall unbeaten 81 on Test debut in Chennai was rated high by one and all. 

Three matches into the 2013 IPL and Henriques has already shown some positive signs of form with both bat and ball. After an all-round effort of 2 for 14 in three overs and 44 (off 40 balls) in Hyderabad, Henriques produced figures of 4-0-24-2 to help RCB defeat the Kolkata Knight Riders at home.

The 26-year-old Portuguese-born Australian all-rounder caught up with iplt20.com after RCB’s eight-wicket win. He spoke about the relief of finally being on the same side as Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara, his fellow Portuguese, Cristiano Ronaldo and more. 

Did the time spent in India during the Test series help you hit the ground running this IPL?

After playing the Tests I was already well aware of the Indian conditions and weather. So, that did help me. But the formats are completely different and these wickets have a lot more bounce than the Test wickets did. So far it’s been okay; the last game wasn’t too good for me as a bowler (he conceded 18 runs in the only over he bowled), but today I was lucky enough to get a couple of wickets.

A few weeks back you were out on the field trying to get Virat Kohli out. And now he’s your captain.

I much prefer playing in his team than bowling to him. I was very glad that RCB picked me because that meant that I don’t have to bowl to Virat and Pujara for a while. I bowled to them both during the Test series and they never got out.

Virat is touted as the future India leader. How would you describe him as a captain?

He’s leading from the front and he’s making some smart choices in the field as well. But the best thing is that he’s batting well and he’s taking it upon himself to win matches for the team. He got very disappointed when he got out today (after scoring 35 off 27 balls),but I still thought he batted beautifully.

He’s very expressive on the field. How’s he in the dressing room?

He’s much calmer off the field but you can tell how much he enjoys and loves his cricket from the passion that he plays it with. That’s a very special trait to have. I think he’s a very selfless cricketer and you can tell that from the amount of work he puts in his fielding. Being a fantastic fielder says a lot about a cricketer more than being a great batsman.

Is opening the bowling something you’re used to?

I used to when I was younger and played age cricket but not so much in the last few years. But if I keep getting results like this I wouldn’t mind being an opening bowler. I opened the bowling in the first game that I played and got a couple of wickets. I didn’t open the bowling in the last game and didn’t do so well. So, I think they must’ve thought we need to get him out of the way early.

Would you say that batting in India becomes easier as the format gets shorter?

I would, but only because the ball doesn’t spin as much in the shorter formats and you don’t have the footmarks that you have to deal with on days - 3, 4 and 5. But on the other hand, there’s the pressure to score at a faster rate and when you’ve got world-class players in every team it’s always going to be a tough ask.

Your jersey number, 7, is the same as that of another famous sportsman from your town of birth, Funchal (Portugal).

There’s nothing to it but it’s a very good point. No.7 was my first every jersey number and then I took 21. Here I wanted to take 21 but I couldn’t so I went for 7. It is a coincidence that it is the same number as Cristiano Ronaldo’s. I’m going to have to take the credit of putting Portugal on the cricketing map because I don’t think there’s anyone else at the moment. 

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