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Prajakta Pawar in Ranchi 13 May 2014 - 10:55pm IST

Enjoyed batting with Watson: Ankit Sharma

RR spinner also credits coaches for his all-round performance

To open the batting and score a quick-fire 30, and then, to open the bowling as well and claim two for 20 in your first match for your new team is nothing short of impressive. Playing for Rajasthan Royals in Pepsi Indian Premier League 2014, Ankit Sharma put up the aforementioned all-round performance, but he was unfortunate to end up on the losing side in the closely-contested game against CSK at Ranchi. The 23-year-old is yet another uncapped player to come out of the RR stables and perform on the big stage.

Speaking to
IPLT20.com after the game, Ankit said that he was told by Shane Watson the previous evening that he would be playing the match against the Chennai Super Kings. The left-hander also said, “Rahul sir (Dravid), Monty sir (Desai) and Zubin sir (Bharucha) had told me that they were planning something like this; so it was a good outing for me.”

To debut for a franchise towards business end of the tournament, and that too against one of the strongest teams, would have put additional pressure on a youngster. However, Ankit said that he was ready for the challenge. “I was prepared because the coaches had already spoken to me about what line and length to bowl. We also watch a lot of videos, so you get a good idea of what needs to be done.”

Speaking about his contribution in the game, he said, “My performance was good. The support staff had helped and everything worked out well for me. The line and length was good while bowling, and my batting was good too.”

Ankit has been seen more as a bowler in the domestic circuit. However, he also has three half-centuries in first-class cricket and considers himself an all-rounder. Speaking about his batting, Ankit said, “I have been batting. I bat lower down the order in domestic cricket. I do look at myself as an all-rounder, but also the way the think tank had made me practice was very good. And because of that I have been able to perform today.”

When asked about the target RR were looking to set CSK, given the opposition’s strong line-up, he said, “We had decided to take the measure of the wicket for the first couple of overs. Then Watson, who was batting with me, said that now we can try and go for runs. And we were looking to get the team off to a good start.”

Speaking about batting with Watson, Ankit, who was involved in a 60-run opening stand with him, said, “I liked batting with him. I was batting with a batsman of Watson’s stature, and opening with him. So it felt really good.” The first-time IPL opener, who was visibly enjoying his batting and was encouraged by his captain, said that he practices his regular shots in the nets while preparing for different situations.

After helping RR lay a solid foundation with the bat, he gave his team vital breakthroughs with the wickets of Brendon McCullum and Suresh Raina. “It was good to get a wicket up front. The team needed that,” he said while speaking about his performance with the ball.

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