New Delhi, April 5 (IANS) Rajasthan Royals skipper Rahul Dravid hopes the 2008 champions will start their Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign with a win against Delhi Daredevils here Saturday.
Last season, Rajasthan Royals lost both their match against Daredevils and Dravid hoped this time his boys can beat Delhi.
‘Delhi is a terrific side, they are one of the powerhouses in the competition. They have big names (and) especially at home they are going to be dangerous. They beat us twice last year but this year hopefully we can (beat them),’ said Dravid after a practice session at the Kotla.
The former India captain said there were added responsibilities on him while leading a young side.
‘I am playing this tournament as a captain and a player. And there is additional responsibility, I am closely working with the coaches and managing a lot of things but my focus is on captaining and trying to put in a good performance,’ he said.
Dravid said key all-rounder Shane Watson will not be available for Saturday’s tie and hoped that the Australian vice captain will bowl at some stage in the league.
‘Watto will arrive some time tonight but won’t be available for tomorrow’s game. It is a long season. He is coming off a long flight so we don’t want to push him. We have a game on April 8 in Jaipur so that is going to be his first game of the season. We are looking forward to having him back. And hopefully he will start bowling soon at some stage,’ said Dravid.
Talking about his fast bowlers Shaun Tait and Fidel Edwards, Dravid said: ‘We have picked them to bowl flat out and bowl quick that’s the reason why we have them in the side, we want them to bowl quick. Certain kind of wickets and certain places gives us the chance to have that shock value. But, picking them in all the games is the biggest challenge for us. Till Watson starts bowling in that all-round ability, we have just to mix and match and see whether it is possible for us to play one of them.’
Dravid said raw pace or variation will be the key for fast bowlers.
‘You got to have change of pace or you got to be really quick and that’s proven in Twenty20. You have to have the skill. Pace is a skill and it is very valuable in any form of the game and even in Twenty20 and that’s why you see a lot of fast bowlers are sought after by teams. Trying to take on a really quick bowler is not easy if he gets it right,’ he said.
Asked how difficult it was for him to maintain a top fitness level at the age of 40, Dravid said: ‘It was definitely a little more difficult (than before). Playing all the time there is a motivation to stay fit. There is a motivation to stick to your routine but I had a whole year off. I had eight months off so I found it a little difficult in the initial period, but over the last two-and-a-half to three months I have really buckled down and worked really hard preparing for this event. I am looking forward to it as much as anyone else.’