Mumbai: Johan Botha, the South African spinner representing Rajasthan Royals in IPL 5, has said that the table-toppers know fully well that they have plenty to do in the tournament despite a strong start. "The key is to keep preparing well and not take the foot off the pedal. We know we have to win 10-11 games for the playoffs and we have won two. So it is a long way where we want to be," Botha told reporters in Mumbai on Tuesday. "Rahul [Dravid] leads from the front and credit goes to him that he has given us good starts this year."
Botha’s IPL spin partner, the former Australian chinaman bowler Brad Hogg, compared the captaincy styles of former Rajasthan captain Shane Warne and Dravid, terming his former Australia team-mate Warned as a risk-taker. "Different personalities are going to captain the team differently. Shane takes a lot of risks and out in the middle he is prepared to make quick changes and sometimes that can be a bit detrimental to the team. Whereas Dravid is a bit more conservative," Hogg said.
"Basically we go into a game with a batting order and we stick with it. With Shane we probably would have changed the batting order. Rahul would change the batting order if required but not to the extent that Shane would do. Rahul being an Indian he provides a bit more to the Indian culture that the players are bought up with. He is a perfect role model to young Indian cricketers.”
Despite Rajasthan’s lack of star power, Hogg, 41, felt the team was well settled and that not being distracted by superstars had worked well so far. "It is a great thing to have youngsters in your squad. It has provided players to show their worth in front of the Indian selectors as well as overseas players proving a point to their own cricket boards as well," he said. "I think it is a positive sign to not have big names in your squad because basically they want an opportunity at the big stage and they will give you their 100 per cent. They will do everything to make us win. I think we are fortunate not to have too many big names.”
Hogg attributed the lack of 200-plus total in the tournament to the nature of the surfaces used so far in IPL 5. “The wickets have been very slow or two-faced. We scored a high total in the first game and we should have scored a few more but still it was 160 plus,” he said. “I think it comes to the nature of the wicket and it will be interesting to see what kind of wicket we get in Mumbai. At the end of the day we are going to make sure we play well. Hopefully there will be a bit of turn in the pitch because we have good slow bowlers and also our medium pacers would prefer a slower wicket than a quicker wicket."
Rajasthan will play Mumbai Indians on Wednesday here.