Tag Archives: Shane Warne

Rajasthan Royals And The Art of Remaining Underdogs

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Everyone loves Rajasthan Royals, even the fans of the opposition teams. You know why? Because they are the eternal underdogs. Right from the time they lost their first game in the inaugural edition of IPL, they remained underdogs. Even after winning the tournament and creating a fortress at home from the very first edition, they continued being tagged the underdogs and today after a very successful IPL 6, where they have almost made it to the playoffs, have won all their matches at home, beaten Chennai in their own game, they are still being called the underdogs. 

Why are they underdogs? Simple, they never had huge stars except one or two. They created stars who made their destiny and fielded guys who came from the hinterlands with dreamy eyes of shining on the big stage. They were underdogs because they were the cheapest side to be bought during the auctions in 2008. They were underdogs because they look to be working more hard on their fallacies than anyone else.

They were underdogs because they did not get hyper on the cricket ground. They always smile at the opposition and go about their job methodically rather than aggressively.  They know that aggression cannot work in their favor considering they do not possess the likes of Gayle and Kohli, so they’d rather focus on hardwork and technique to control the outcome.

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The Real Difference Creators

1. Rahul ‘Gentleman’ Dravid: If there was one good example of a great servicemen of the game who always upheld the spirit of the game no matter what, Rahul Dravid’s name would come foremost. Remember what he did when Adam Gilchrist was short of his ground a few days back. He withdrew the appeal, thereby setting an example for his team. Though Dravid might not be as celebrated as a Sachin Tendulkar or a Sourav Ganguly, we all know who was the worker behind all great victories India had in the last decade and a half. This is what RD probably is ingraining in Rajasthan Royals. To win but remain nonchalant about it. Plus, the amount of trust he shows in his youngsters is something that would turn an example for any future captain in IPL. We know Sanju Samson because a Rahul Dravid made him a superstar, picking him up from nowhere. As Harsha Bhogle always says, “It is the process which matters the most, if that’s taken care of, the results take care of itself”. Rahul Dravid seems to embody this thought.

2. Shane ‘Watto’ Watson: As I write this one, am hearing that Watson has overtaken Chris Gayle in the Most Valuable Player in the IPL. With very little to go in the tournament and Watson himself being in great form, I would not be surprised if he actually pulls that off. Now that in itself is some achievement because IPL if anything is known for Gaylestorm and to beat that man in his own arena is a genius’s job. Watson brilliance lies not only in the fact that he is a great player from Australia but also in the manner he plays alongside the juniors around him in the Royals side. Probably playing first under Shane Warne and now under Dravid is helping his attitude immensely. He brings to the table extraordinary skills and am sure playing around him would be an academy for the youngsters of the side. Lastly, if he plays anywhere as good as he did in the last match, only God save the opposition from the harakiri this big guy can bring.

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3. The Bowling Attack: We often talk of how a batting unit has helped RR win the first edition and has helped them this year too to almost reach the playoffs (I am sure they will but am just not taking a risk). What we forget more often than not is that it is the bowling that actually without the presence of any big star pulled off what many teams in IPL could not with big names. Not that RR never had a great bowling attack. In the first season names like Shane Warne, Sohail Tanvir and Munaf Patel (he was a decent enough bowler then) did don their jersey but as time passed, these names went away and in came a fragrance of youth and they did well we must say. Just take yesterday’s match for example. Against CSK who have the most devastating batting line-up, the bowlers were Malik, Faulkner, Watson, Trivedi, Cooper and Binny. What did they do? made Chennai fold up for 141. This is no one-off, its a regular feature now that this bowling attack sans any superstars does to opposition. They are probably taken for granted and from there they show everyone who is the boss. Probably again being underdogs helps challenges them to do their best.

4. The Fortress That Cannot Be Breached: The team has now actually equalled their own record of highest home wins at a trot (8). It is something about the place that aids the home team like no other ground. In the last game against CSK the challenge was stiff. They were pitted against a tough team and Chennai’s record was simple, you give them to bat first and they don’t lose. Knowing this fully well, Dravid still allowed Dhoni and his men first usage of the helpful wicket at Sawai Man Singh Stadium and the result is for all to know. Teams would be thanking their stars that none of the qualifiers or the final is at Jaipur or else only one team would have come out on top.

With their non-violent style of cricket, this team has already made rapid progress. The next task would be to end the league stage on top and make a clear statement that this team can dazzle and well as be consistent. If they win this would be an additional jewel in the crown of The Eternal Gentleman Rahul Dravid. 

4 Reasons Why We Love Rajasthan Royals

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An underdog and low-cost side, Rajasthan Royals have always performed, risen to the occasion, delivered and had one star puller. Here are 4 reasons you cannot deny being a fan.

  1. First Shane Warne and now Rahul Dravid, this team has always had one leader around whom a brigade of young players play. This icon player is chosen with due diligence. He is senior and credible enough to motivate and inspire and makes sure the team hinges around him. A clear case of a leader in charge vis-a-vis other teams where we almost on all occasions see everyone a part of the discussions and multiple thought processes working.
  2. The underdog quotient works big time for them. They neither have Dhoni, nor Tendulkar, nor Yuvraj Singh, but what they do have is a bunch of youngsters like Kevon Cooper, Ajinkya Rahane, Siddharth Trivedi and the likes who lift the spirit when needed the most. Who perform out of their skins to show they are no less, at least in a format which requires flamboyance more than any other thing. Take for example their last game against Kolkata. Sunil Narine was bowling his last over of another great spell and the Royals were struggling to get to 140. Who came to the party, a relatively unknown Dishant Yagnik. He hit a six and four and damaged a spell that could have so well been a match winning one.
  3. This is one team which has taken the setbacks of losing their stars pretty well. If Yusuf Pathan and Ravindra Jadeja were two key players for them in their winning first season effort, they lost both of them in the re-auctions. The loss probably impacted the players more as both Jadeja and Pathan have looked a pale self after having been disassociated with the Royals.
  4. Like all Indian rulers, especially from the state of Rajasthan, this team has made their home ground a fortress of sorts. They hardly lose a game, leave losing a game, it is pretty difficult to have them on the mat here even on occasions. Someone or the other pulls off something spectacular and victory comes home. This is one of their most attractive capabilities which need to be mentioned about them.

Not that there aren’t any more reasons (yeah Shilpa Shetty is definitely one reason which attracts loads of eyeballs) but to me these four are the key ones. We like this team because of a spirit and fight we don’t see from many other big sides in the tournament and we also like them because with Rahul Dravid at the helm they always keep the spirit of the game on top, even in a format where aggression is justified on occasions. 

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How Ravindra Jadeja Trolled His Critics

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From mockingly calling him Sir Ravindra Jadeja to making thousands of memes on him, Ravindra Jadeja has seen fun being made on him everywhere on the internet. It was him though who finally had the last laugh

24 wickets in a Test series against Australia. Yes, you got the numbers right. Jadeja, who till a few days back was being trolled left, right and center on the social media, bagged 24 wickets against a good team, proving a few points to his critics.

The last image I saw of him was that of being in the illustrious company of Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne (Yes, you guessed right, in the same famous picture with Sir Don Bradman, replacing the Don from the frame). The image is attached for your perusal.

But what none can deny are the improvements he has made to his game, especially his bowling in Indian conditions. After all, twenty four wickets in a series is no joke. With every wicket he took and he dismissed Michael Clarke (probably Australia’s best batsman) on all occasions, he made his critics feel pathetic about themselves and their understanding of the game. He won a clear battle, one in which he was declared loser even before the show began.

For all those who feel wronged about an Ajinkya Rahane not getting selected to play courtesy his showing in the Ranji Trophy (though I don’t consider the Indian domestic performances as any yardstick to see talent) probably missed Jadeja’s crazy numbers. 800 runs in five matches with two triple hundreds was what he managed with the willow, and if that was not enough, he picked up 24 wickets at an impressive 20.7. To me he was the one who single handedly took Saurashtra to the finals.

But even with such numbers, he was trolled when he was selected. I heard a Facebook status saying that the entire press box clapped when he got bowled out to Pattinson leaving a delivery outside off because everyone in unison felt he did not deserve a place. For the selectors though, considering the numbers, it was an easy choice. Fortunately Sandeep Patil and party knew what they were upto and they did not got bogged down to what others thought.

Let’s not debate this further and just bring out the things he brings to the table being an all-rounder in the Indian conditions. A balanced batsman (he has to work a lot more to be called perfectly balanced) who can bat at any position that the skipper asks him to. Believe me; having seen him from close quarters, he is much better than what most people think he is as a batsman. As a bowler, here is someone who knows his limitations and works around it, something which is a rarity for Indians as a breed.

Courtesy his tight line and length he can dry up runs and the moment he comes to know what the pitch offers, he is someone who grabs it by both hands (Delhi was just one example). And let’s be honest, we all love seeing him throw those grenades from his fielding position, don’t we?

To me, I saw a more matured Ravindra Jadeja in this series. He looked like having worked on various bits of his bowling. His line, immaculate length, bowling consistently at a defined trajectory and occasionally surprising the batsmen who were definitely low on batting technique (except Clarke and Watson) was a delight to the eyes.

Let’s not forget, the legendary spinner Shane Warne, on his first stint as captain of Rajasthan Royals in the IPL had called Jadeja a cricketing ‘Rockstar’ and had at that time predicted he would be India’s next shining star. Probably the time has come.

What I am more excited about is the dimension that Jadeja gives to the Indian team in South Africa. With the team wanting to play three seamers in those helpful conditions, Jadeja is the perfect fit who can take up the second spinner’s role and that of an all-rounder. If domestic performances are any yardstick, his batting is good and courtesy his showing against Australia, he definitely will get his chances in South Africa, if he does well, he surely will prove his belonging.