Jaipur: Impressed by Ajinkya Rahane's range of shots, Rajasthan Royals' Australian import Brad Hodge called the Indian youngster a "super talent". "He is batting superbly and has [a] hunger for runs. He reminds me of my own younger days. His shots are majestic and I enjoying watching him bat. To my eyes, he can be a super talent," Hodge said after guiding his team to a five-wicket win over Deccan Chargers in an IPL 5 encounter on Tuesday.
Hodge's 21-ball 48 earned him the Man-of-the-Match award as Rajasthan chased down a stiff target of 197 at Jaipur. "It was a tough outing for us and dangerous too. We played a night game in Bangalore and landed here, had little rest and [were] out to play a day game. It was demanding physically and mentally tough for us."
Praising his team's all-round performance, Hodge said that it is not every day that such imposing totals were chased down as easily as Rajasthan made it look on Tuesday. "It was a stiff target but Rahul Dravid and Rahane laid the platform for us. There were no specific instructions when to go all out, but we were there to try and hit the ball in middle of the bat. It was a super effort."
Talking about his bowling and the wicket of Shikhar Dhawan, Hodge conceded that the visitors were going very strong at that point of time, before he dismissed the Deccan Chargers batsman. "[Kumar] Sangakkara and Dhawan were going very well and we were trying to stop the momentum and slow down the speed. Some time these changes come good. But they still played well to post 196 on the board."
"I am happy the way I have been batting so far. It was same while I played for Kochi [Tuskers Kerala] in previous edition, scoring more than 300 runs. In this format the top-order batsmen get to play more balls and score more, while your role is different if you bat lower down the order."
Talking about Ashok Menaria, Hodge said he needed to be given confidence. "Rahane is batting very well at the top and they [the openers] provide us [a] good platform. Ashok Menaria bats at three and can be dangerous once he gets in. You have to get the eye in and he is a very good player of spin bowling and will be very important for our side."
Praising the captaincy of Rahul Dravid, Hodge said that all players felt energised under him. "He has been very good for the team and energy flows under him. He is relaxed and caring and has carried on with Shane Warne's legacy."