Prajakta Pawar in Jaipur
It could be tough for CSK: Menaria
RR all-rounder says Super Kings might have their work cut out at their Jaipur fortress
Unbeaten on their home turf in 2013, the Royals who have developed a keen understanding of their conditions will hope to extend their winning streak and book a place in the final. Addressing the media ahead of the clash, Ashok Menaria said that they will stick to their routines and treat is as just another game.
“Every team plans. We go according to the plans set out by Paddy Upton and Rahul Bhai (Dravid). All 20 overs of our bowling are planned out and we know exactly what we have to do, which fielder will stay where and how to bowl to each batsman. This is all planned in any case at the team meeting, and we play according to that. We don’t try to do too much extra apart from that, and maybe that’s why we have been successful,” Menaria said.
“All 15 members of the squad know exactly what they have to do tomorrow,” he added.
Asked if facing CSK would be a tougher ask, the all-rounder said, “It can be tough for them as well since they have to come and play in Jaipur. We have won 12 matches in a row in Jaipur and CSK knows that too.”
Menaria, who has been opening the bowling for the hosts, said, “I bowled under Shane Warne in my first year, but not much after that. When we started our camp, eight days before the tournament, Rahul Bhai and the coach had prepared me for bowling the opening over. I have practiced with the new ball for those eight days, so it wasn’t that difficult for me to open the bowling. “
The Royals have pulled through from tough situations to post wins, while CSK came undone under pressure when faced with it for the first time against Trinidad &Tobago. Asked if that it is an added advantage for the Royals, he said, “CSK have several big-name players and match-winners, but any team can have a bad day in Twenty20 cricket. But that doesn’t mean they will always have bad days. They have been the most consistent team across all the IPLs. So RR cannot take them lightly.”
The Super Kings have a well-rounded bowling attack that can bowl under various conditions. Asked if the RR batsmen have worked out a strategy for them, Menaria said, “We have been playing in these conditions for the last 15 days. Our practice pitches are also similar, and we have played this year’s IPL also in similar conditions. So more than other teams, our batsmen are best prepared to bat here. Because we are used to this wicket and we have done well here and not lost a game in the last 12 matches we have played so maybe that is the reason that we play here. “
Menaria has had little opportunity to bat but he said that he is mentally prepared if required to wield the willow. “I will bat, bowl and field according to the team plan. As for my batting, Rahul Bhai and the coach have explained in detail to me in the nets what I need to do and when I’ll get to bat. I’m ready to bat at any number. I wear my pads and sit, so I can go in if needed up the order too,” he said.
“Rajasthan’s bowling is also very good. Look at James Faulkner, Kevon Cooper, Watto (Shane Watson), Pravin Tambe – I think our bowling unit has done the best job in the tournament so far. It will be difficult for their batsmen to face us. Yes, CSK’s attack is tough, but as you play bigger matches, you will face tough attacks and tough batsmen.”
“We find it easy to play in Rajasthan. We have practiced here since years. You won’t find a greener wicket in the country than here, and no IPL team practices on such green wickets. We have had an advantage there. And our batsmen’s basics are very sound. Rahul Bhai is a Test match legend. Watson, Ajinkya Rahane – we have men in the top order who can play the moving ball well, so that makes it easier for us,” he added.
With speculation rife on Dravid’s retirement, asked if they had anything planned for their captain, he replied, “Rahul Bhai hasn’t decided about that and we also don’t know whether it is his last match here or not, but if it is, then we should win it for him. He has achieved so much in cricket.”