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Prajakta Pawar in Jaipur 04 May 2013 - 10:16pm IST

PWI aim to win five of five: Allan Donald

Coach hopes his team can restore lost pride

Pune Warriors India will be playing for pride when they take on the Rajasthan Royals at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium on Sunday evening. That will be a tough ask as Rahul Dravid’s men are yet to be beaten at home and are in contention for a slot in the top four of the Pepsi Indian Premier League 2013. However, the visitors will seek confidence from the fight they put up against the Royal Challengers Bangalore on May 2 in Pune.

Addressing the media during practice at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, PWI coach Allan Donald said, “I think the comforting thing right throughout this IPL has been that we have played some extraordinary cricket. But I think our decision-making under pressure has not been all that good. But I love the way we fought back against RCB the other day. I thought Robin Uthappa was outstanding. He showed why he is a class player – not was – and nearly won that game with Angelo Mathews. So we know what we are capable of at the moment.

“Right from the beginning we have said we are going to focus on us rather than the opposition and not worry too much about where we are. But more importantly for me, it is how we stand up as a franchise, and show what a quality outfit we are, and that starts on Sunday.” 

Asked if he it has crossed his mind that the Royals have won five matches at home, the former South African cricketer said, “Its’ crossed my mind very much. Thank you! We are in a position where we have got five games left in this tournament and we are here to play for a lot of pride, not only for our franchise but for ourselves. We certainly cannot worry about whether we are away or at home and records that other teams have at home. We have got to make a significant play tomorrow. We have to make a very big play and we know we are under pressure. We have got five games to go and we want to win all five of them.”

Asked if the former ace pace spearhead of SA hoped he had bowled in the IPL, he laughed and said, “I wish there was a golden oldies IPL. I would definitely fall into that category right now. I would take that. The IPL is a wonderful concept and I have always been a great fan of the IPL. I have great admiration for how skill levels have improved over the six IPLs that I have seen. I think what the IPL has done and Twenty20 cricket has done for Test cricket is something quite extraordinary. I think that’s what you see now, fantastic Test matches and fast Test matches. Run rates have gone through the roof and the skill levels too. There is no real respect anymore for good deliveries in Test cricket. The guys go after everything. I think it is exciting and it has done a fantastic amount for Test cricket. And that’s why Test cricket is right now exciting to watch.”

Asked if bowling was always this tough or if it has become tougher he explained, “I honestly think in Twenty20 cricket bowling has improved. I think gone are the days when you sit in a team meeting and you just go through the motions. I think, now because Twenty20 cricket is strategically so precise in planning, you have got to strategise very, very well. As we always call it, you have got to study the book for the exam well. Who you are up against and where their weaknesses lie. I think the overall skill of death bowling and being smart under pressure has really improved.” 

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