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I aspire to play in IPL: Rudolph

Titans’ opener hopes his CLT20 performances pave way for more T20 opportunities

Keen to dispel the perception that he is more suited to the longer format of the game, Jacques Rudolph has been striving hard to demonstrate otherwise. The Karbonn Champions League Twenty20 2012 offered the left-hand bat an opportunity to display his skills on an international platform and prove that he can be effective in the shortest format of the game as well. By becoming the highest run-getter in the league phase, the Titans opener has been able to take a step forward in his quest. A vital cog in the Titans’ line-up, he scored 171 runs in three innings.

Back in the thick of things with South African cricket after a County stint, Rudolph has been a key player in the Titans’ fortunes in recent times. His superb form in domestic cricket also resulted in a comeback into the national side last year after a five-year hiatus. Rudolph attributes a lot of credit to County Cricket for his recent success.

In an interview with clt20.com ahead of the semi-final clash against the Sydney Sixers, Rudolph spoke about playing Twenty20 cricket and his role in the Titans’ batting line-up.

Excerpts from his interview:

On being the highest run-getter during the league phase of the tournament

It is a very nice position to be in. I think there has always been a strong perception that I am only a Test player, but it was nice especially in a competition like this and to perform the way that I have done. I would really like to finish it off well, starting tomorrow with the semi-final and hopefully the final.

On anchoring the innings and maintaining a good strike rate

[It is to do with] the dynamic of our batting line-up, especially opening with Henry Davids who is an explosive batsman. My role is to go throughout the innings and be a backbone. We have got lot of players who can score 50 off 30 balls, so hopefully those guys come off; and if I get a score of 75 off 50 balls or something, which normally sets you up, that will help. I think there is a stat that over 80 percent of games where one of the batters have got more than 75 we have won the game; so that’s something we feel quite strongly about.

On whether there is anything that he does differently while batting in T20

No not really. I am not really the kind of player that bats in the nets. I don’t enjoy batting in the nets. I spend a lot of time working on my specifics and my game plan and that has been working for me.

I do a lot of hitting on the field itself. Someone will throw me the ball I will hit 20 balls over extra cover, 20 reverse sweeps, 20 flicks over the mid-wicket and try and hit sixes. That is my method of training and that has been working for me over the last couple of years.

On his County Cricket experience which has helped him stay calm and score runs

The thing about County Cricket is it fast tracked my experience as a cricketer. I am 31 and I have played over 200 first-class games, which for my age are a lot of games. But it would not have happened if I had not played County Cricket. It just fast tracks all your experience. Mike Hussey went through the same thing where he had around 15000 first-class runs at the age of 31 and he started playing Test cricket then. So that has really helped me. You play all formats continuously so you have to cement your game plans and work on your own game.

On adjusting to the different formats

It’s purely a mental adjustment. In four-day games you are a little bit more circumspect. You don’t take as many risks. It is the same for all batters although when you become more experienced you know exactly what to expect; so I rely on that.

On whether he had made any changes to his batting

My technique is quite simple. Basically there are a few things that I am going to try and work on. I think balance is a big key and the use of my bottom hand, I have to release it and I don’t grip the bat too hard because then my hands can’t release. So those are the small things that I am always aware of and when I am batting I am always checking those. It is like a checklist that I always have. You get a feeling whether it is working or not, and if it is not then you’ve got to adjust as quickly as possible.

His advice to young batsman

For young batters it is very important at a very young age to work out your strengths and your weaknesses and play accordingly. The players that are inconsistent, in my mind, are sometimes players that don’t really know their game plan; like they might be front-foot players, but they all of sudden might want to play back-foot shots. Those sorts of things you have to work out yourself.

On how his team have prepared for the Sydney Sixers

I think for us just getting into the semis was a big thing. We did see ourselves as little bit of underdogs if you think about the superstars that play in some of the teams. But we have made it to the semi-finals, which says a lot about how we play together as a team. So we have got to rely on that tomorrow. We know we don’t have a lot of international players, so we have to play well together.

Any specific areas his team has been working on

One of our strengths over the last couple of years is that we play really well together as a team regardless of who the personnel are. We always play well at home and I think it showed in the first game against the Perth Scorchers. I think lot of people had written us off in the beginning saying that we won’t go far but I think we proved people wrong by getting this far.

On the platform provided by CLT20 to young players

Hopefully it is a platform for the older ones too. It is an aspiration of mine to play in the IPL. And hopefully in this competition I have showed that I am capable of playing in this format. There is also young Eden Links in our team, Henry Davids and a lot of other players who had the opportunity to showcase what they are made of and it would be very good if they can do it in the next two games as well if we get to the final.

On playing at home

It is very nice. We have to do well tomorrow. The Sixers are an exceptionally good team. They have got a great bowling line-up and we have got to find a ways to get around that. 

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