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Prajakta Pawar in Jaipur

Hope to exploit Scorchers’ inexperience: Hodge

RR batter says his team will be eager to press home the advantage on Sunday

The Rajasthan Royals have been training rigorously at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium ahead of their game against the Perth Scorchers. The inexperienced and the stalwarts have been working to iron out the creases in their game as they progress in the tournament.

Not ones to let their guard down, the Royals have trained hard and will be taking the field all guns blazing on Sunday evening as they look to secure a place in the semi-finals of the Karbonn Smart Champions League Twenty20 2013.

“We will be going full out. We are in this competition to try and win it. Especially here, at our home ground in Jaipur, we expect to do well. We won’t be pulling any stunts or any moves. We will be putting our best side out there to try and win the game. Rahul (Dravid) and the management will decide what the best side is, after looking at the conditions and assessing them,” Brad Hodge told the media in the pre-match press conference. 

Asked about how a team ensures that complacency doesn’t set in, he replied, “You need to be focused on any game you play. Especially in Twenty20 anyone can have a good day and take the game away from you. You have to be very careful. Although Perth are inexperienced, they did beat the Melbourne Stars, in the semi-finals (of the Big Bash League).”

“They are a pretty good cricket side and just have some guys out of their side. Hopefully we can exploit that youthfulness that they have, but you are also going to be wary because being young and vibrant also gives you the opportunity to play freely. So we need to stop that and make their task hard. We have got a really good skill-set for this competition and this ground particularly. I think their task will be hard. If we win tomorrow, it puts us in really good shape to make the semi-final.”

Speaking about his own role in the team, Hodge said that though he has batted at the top of the order, he has a role to fulfil in the lower order, which has been discussed with him by Dravid and the management. “I guess once you’re brought into the team, you just do the job the best that you possibly can. It doesn’t matter if you open, bat at No.5 or No.6, you just try to be the best you can possibly be. I think Rahul explained it on the TV, saying ‘Of course Brad would like to bat up. But the role that he plays in the team is very important.’ And I completely understand that role. I felt I had a very successful IPL VI in that role and Rajasthan Royals felt the same way,” he said.

Another player who plays an important role in the team, Shane Watson, has also been working hard to fulfil his role. The all-rounder has batted at different positions throughout his career so far for the various teams he has represented. During an interaction with the media he said, “I think I have got the game to be able to adjust to whatever position I need to bat for the team. I do love batting at No.3 or 4 for the Royals as well. It has worked really well for our team. In the end, wherever the team needs me to bat (I will). I am lucky to have the experience of just about every spot in the team, so I hope to adjust very quickly.”

Speaking about his long session in the nets on Friday morning, Watson said, “I am working on a couple of specific things. At the start of a net, it’s more just working on Twenty20 batting, and trying to get into a bit of a groove of Twenty20 hitting. But in the side net, it’s more about working on technical things. I had quite a few issues with one specific ball especially during the England Test series, so I just continue to refine that, and try and reduce that issue as much as I possibly can. I am making the most of the practice facilities we have got here also. Zubin Bharucha (RR batting coach) is one of the best batting coaches I have worked with, so it’s nice to have his eyes there with me working through the things I am trying to do. I am getting closer and closer to getting it right.”

“It’s just trying to find a technique to be able to make sure I have got a chance to keep that ball out and also score runs. In England, I was getting into trouble with the ball that was coming back. We’re lucky enough to have great facilities here, so I can get the hours under my belt,” he added.

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