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Royals’ Rahane, Faulkner looks forward to IPL 2013
By IPL Staff
Delhi 05 April 2013
Young and aspiring youngsters in their respective national sides, Ajinkya Rahane and James Faulkner are taking their first steps in the international circuit for India and Australia.
Rahane made people stand-up and take notice with his performance in the Indian Premier League in 2012 and Faulkner has made his presence felt in the shortest format of the game while playing in the Big Bash.
Both have also displayed their skills while playing on the domestic circuit of their home countries.
What they also have in common is, that both have had the opportunity to play under the leadership of Shane Warne. Rahane has already played under Rahul Dravid and Faulkner will have that honour when he turns out for the Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2013.
Rahane has always spoken reverently of the influence and guidance provided by Dravid and Faulkner too speaks highly of the support extended to him by Warne.
Discussing the contrasting captaincy styles of ‘The Wall’ and the spin wizard, Rahane observed, “They (Warne and Dravid) are both legends but are entirely different captains. Rahul bhai likes to keep things simple while leading the side while Warne was always trying various new things and was always experimenting.
“Both Rahul bhai and Shane have been equally approachable.”
“I am enjoying playing with Rahul Dravid. Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar are my role models since my childhood, so it is a dream to bat alongside Rahul bhai. It is a great learning experience. We all learn from him.
“He is simple and humble and still a student of the game. I learnt a lot from Shane Warne as well.”
Speaking about Warne, Faulkner Warne added, “He has been a massive support for my cricket over the last two years I have really got to know him. I have really got to know him off the field as well and he has left a legacy to be followed.
“With RR being his IPL team I glad I am here I am playing where he is used to play.”
“I haven’t actually spoken to him about RR but the advice that he has given to me is to always back myself and back my game and I have done that through the Big Bash under him. So I am looking forward to doing that here in India too.”
“I have had a couple of sessions now with Rahul (Dravid). He has been very positive for the team. And everyone has been positive so far as a group at training. Now it is a matter of putting games of cricket together as a team and winning games of cricket,” Faulkner mentioned.
Speaking about the Royals’, Rahane who was one of the star performers for the franchise in 2012 said, “I have lot of good memories of last season but as we know cricket is a funny game so I want to start this season from scratch.”
Faulkner too is looking forward to take the field for RR and agrees that they have got a very good squad.
“Few games last year were disappointing. We lost close games, especially against Delhi we lost by one run. We are learning from that (those mistakes). We also have Shane Watson for the whole season. We have a good side so we hope to do well,” Rahane added.
Speaking about the devastating effect that Shane Watson is known to have on the opposition, Faulkner said, “When Watson is both batting and bowling he is probably the best player in the world when it comes to the short format, at least that’s what the statistics show. He can break the game open with both the bat and ball. As a batter in T20 cricket he is one of the best going around. He has dominated and won matches for his country. And he has done that here in the IPL before”.
Faulkner who has come to India after playing in another twenty20 tournament, the Big Bash said, “The conditions are a lot different. Australia is where I am from so I am used to those conditions there. India is different when it comes to the weather, the pitches and how they play. But I think I have got the game to adapt to any sort of conditions around the world.”
“The quality of cricket in both – the IPL and the Big Bash is international (level). IPL has very high standards and I am really looking forward to IPL kicking off.”
“I have just finished my summer back in Australia so I am in reasonably good conditions at the moment. I came four-five days ago to adapt to the wickets over here. I have done really good in nets so far and I will have another one today and I look forward to it all starting,” the pacer added.
Discussing his own batting and adapting to different formats of the game, Rahane said, “As an international cricketer you have to adapt to different things. My main strength is that I like to learn new things every day. I just want to focus and stick to my game plan.”
On his style of playing in the ‘V’ which can fetch runs as much as any other innovative shot like a ‘dilscoop’ Rahane explained, "Every batsman has his own style. My style is to keep things simple. My idols are Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid. Both play cricketing shots and are successful in T20 format as well. So I would like to keep it very simple and stick to my game plan. You need to adapt to all these situations. It is about the mind set. Adjustments are important and how you approach the game is important."
“Once you get a taste of international cricket, it is like a bug so you want to keep playing and performing as well as you can for your country. And it’s the same when it comes to the IPL. Anywhere that I play, I think I want to achieve my goals and play as well as I can for that team. It’s is no different for Rajasthan Royals and I am looking forward to it,” Faulkner said.
On the batsman he looks forward to bowl to, the tall Australian pacer said, “Definitely Chris Gayle. I have got a little bit of rivalry with him now if I get the option to bowl at him again I sure he will try to hit me out of the ground and I will try to get him out so I am sure it will be good for all the spectators.”
A new look to the team, new coaching staff, two experienced Men as mentors in VVS Laxman and Kris Srikkanth and the Sunrisers Hyderabad look to flag off their IPL campaign on a positive note.
The team looked upbeat at the practice session at their home ground as the domestic players went about practicing their flurry of strokes before their first game in the tournament.
Their captain Kumar Sangakkara looked crisp in his footwork at the nets as he displayed his picturesque cover drive to his Sunrisers teammates on a sunny Thursday evening.
Not surprisingly, their chief coach Tom Moody was in a positive frame of mind as he said, “The atmosphere amongst the playing group is really good. We are very comfortable with the squad we have, both domestically and internationally. We have prepared well and we feel confident going to the first challenge.”
The Sunrisers have a lot of young domestic players in the squad who will be itching to go out and give it their best. For Coach Moody, the message to his youngsters was simple: ‘Enjoy the game’.
“The players are here to learn the game and perform at their best. The local players do not have enough exposure, whether they are playing in front of big crowds or whether it’s playing against Test stars, but it is a wonderful experience and I just encourage all my young players to just go and have fun; because at the end of the day, it is very important to express yourself. “
Meanwhile a jovial Kris Srikkanth who accompanied Moody to address the press said that he was enjoying his stint as one of the mentors of the side.
“For me it is a great experience to be a mentor of the side. It is nice to talk to these boys and give them some tips as to what to do and what not to do. I have always believed, cricket is a team game and we are gelling well together. We have got a lot of domestic talent and good international players. Tom is doing a great job with the team and giving them the necessary advices.”
Talking of advices, the team certainly seems to be benefiting from advices coming out of Waqar Younis, who is the bowling consultant for the Sunrisers.
The Sunrisers, have in their squad arguably the best fast bowler in world cricket at the moment: Dale Steyn. Add a former Pakistani great to a Steyn; that would make for a lethal combination to which Moody said, “It would have been nice to see Waqar and Steyn bowling at their peak together isn’t it? Waqar has a wealth of experience and not only the domestic players; even Dale Steyn is excited about working with Someone like Waqar. If we can create that environment where it is a learning environment, where even the best fast bowler in the world is prepared to sit in the classroom and be a part of that learning, it is very good. “
Asked if the new franchise had a primary goal in the tournament, Srikkanth was quick to point out, “Every team has a goal in the tournament. Sunrisers Hyderabad will look to be amongst the top four. That is our primary goal and we are confident we will do it. We are a new franchise and we would like to make a big impact in this year’s IPL.”