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Prajakta Pawar in Jaipur

Dravid’s clarity, Upton’s inputs helping us: Rahane

Rajasthan Royals batter highlights his skipper and coach’s impact ahead of CLT20 2013

Under the leadership of the calm and composed Rahul Dravid and the able guidance of coach Paddy Upton, the Rajasthan Royals put up a formidable showing in IPL 2013 to reach the Playoffs of that tournament and claim a berth in Champions League Twenty20 2013.

The Royals have been training meticulously at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium for their maiden CLT20 campaign. After yet another session in Jaipur, Ajinkya Rahane, a key player in RR’s ranks spoke to clt20.com about the team and its preparations, as they eagerly look forward to taking on the Mumbai Indians in their opening game.

Excerpts from his interview:

How does it feel to make it to the CLT20?

It is a great feeling. Champions League Twenty20 is a great platform and obviously the team is very excited and looking forward to the tournament. The first match is against the Mumbai Indians, so all the players are very excited and we all are prepared to do well.

What have the preparations been like?

The preparations have been very good. We have been together for about a week and everyone knows what their role is and how they have to prepare for it. So everyone has done their preparations accordingly. We have prepared well as a team and the atmosphere is good, which is very important.

RR had a good run in IPL 2013. What do you think you need to do to take it a step further?

IPL was good for us. In the IPL everyone expressed themselves and fulfilled their roles well. In the IPL you play two matches against each team so you have an idea about your opponents and about their strengths and weaknesses. But in CLT20 there are three other Indian teams (IPL teams) and the rest are foreign teams, who you have hardly ever played against. Some of their (foreign teams) players have played in the IPL but there are still some other players you haven’t played against, so from that point of view to prepare accordingly is very important. It is equally important in the IPL, but in CLT20 you have to study the opposition more and understand their strong and weak points and then prepare accordingly and go into the game.

What would be your areas of focus?

We focus only on ourselves. We respect whoever the opposition is and play against them.

We will try not to repeat the mistakes that we made in the IPL. For example, there are obviously close games in T20, but they too are important. So to know what mistakes you have made, small things while maybe fielding, is important.

What are the areas you are looking to work on?

I am just trying to keep it simple and stick to the basics. I will try to play my natural game. I don’t want to change my game too much or pressurise myself too much. I just want to express myself and do what I have been doing till now, follow the process that I have been following till now.

What have been the roles of coach Paddy Upton and captain Rahul Dravid in RR’s success?

Paddy Upton’s role is very important. He has handled the team really well. He won’t just come and tell you that you have to do this; he will give you some positive tips. And I think it is very important in T20 that your coach comes and gives you positive inputs and motivates you. Paddy has done it really well; he has motivated every player and the team really well and given positive inputs to the team, which the team benefits from.

And Rahul Dravid, to have player like him in the team is huge and very important. We all say that T20 is a hard-hitting game, but I believe that the better you are technically, the more successful you will be in T20. And to have an example like him in the team is a very good thing for all of us. Personally, he is my role model and I try to learn as much as I can from him on and off the field. The way he has handled the team and explained each one their role about how they have to play and given clarity to each one, that has helped.

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