The Champions League Twenty20 is all set to be Sachin Tendulkar’s swansong as a Mumbai Indians player but Rajasthan Royals captain Rahul Dravid feels it still doesn’t make their opening clash on September 21 any special.
“Yes,Sachin is a great player and we have played against each other and also as team mates but I feel that there is nothing important in this match. It would be a challenge for us but it should be seen as a match between Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians only,” Dravid told reporters here.
“I wish we come face to face in semifinals too in this tournament,” added Dravid at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium.
Asked if this CLT20 could also be his last,Dravid said he has not yet taken a call on that.
“Speaking about the emotions for this being my last T20 tournament,I have still not decided about the next year. I wish to concentrate on this tournament only,” he said.
“The performance and the spirit would be decisive and if we are able to play to our potential than we would be in contention. Every tournament is important whether it is first or last,” he added.
Dravid praised local hero southpaw Ashok Menaria and hoped he might get a bigger role.
“I am happy about the left hander. He had a lean last season but has come back strongly with fine performances in Emerging trophy and also for India ‘A’.
“I hope to get him bowl a few overs and also more opportunities to bat. But it all would depend upon the team strategy. First he would have to be fit into the team plans,” said the captain.
Talking about the inclusion of upcoming left-arm spinner Harmeet Singh,who was acquitted in the spot-fixing case,Dravid said his team would decide on that in a day or two.
“We are pondering over the replacement for Siddharth Trivedi who has been banned for a year. Harmeet was called a couple of days back and he has been practising with us but we still have to decide whether to include him or not. Moreover,it would be the decision of the management,” he added.
Dravid ducked the question related to the effects of pacer S Sreesanth and few others being found guilty of spot-fixing in a BCCI inquiry.
“It is up to the investigating agencies who know the facts better than us. We don’t have the information that they do. We would all support to the agencies we have played good cricket without them earlier also and we wish to maintain the same spirit,” said the skipper.
Team coach Paddy Upton was all praise for the performance of the youngsters.
“We have tried to encourage and give confidence to the upcoming and less known cricketers by making them feel that they too were important part of the team. This also helped us jell together.
“We are fortunate that the upcoming players like Sanju Samson and Dishant Yagnik and also P Tambe who was not so prominent have done so well. It would important for us to keep the team in better shape because we have limited players now after the ban on few of our squad players,” said the coach.
We want to play good cricket for Sachin Tendulkar: Rohit Sharma
With Sachin Tendulkar set to appear in his final Champions League T20,Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma today said the team will look to put its best foot forward in its quest to win the tournament for the veteran’s batsman.
“We know perhaps this is Sachin’s last Twenty20 tournament and we want to play good cricket for him,” Rohit said while talking to reporters ahead of Mumbai Indians’ campaign opener against Rajasthan Royals on Saturday.
Mumbai Indians coach John Wright was also all praise for Tendulkar,saying he had always kept things simple and youngsters must learn from him.
“I had seen him first as 16-year-old opponent when India played New Zealand in a Test match and later when I became India’s coach in 2000,” said Wright.
“I have seen him closely for years. I feel he has never changed his approach towards the game and this is one of the reasons for his huge success. The youngsters can learn from him. It is good to see that he has the same approach even now.
“He has kept things simple. He looks keen and fresh,” he added.
Refusing to be dragged into the controversy regarding Tendulkar’s 200th Test and his retirement,Rohit said,”I wish he does well in the CLT20 and I don’t know what happens in future.”
Mumbai Indians had bagged their maiden IPL title this season,but Rohit insisted that they would be starting from zero in the CLT20.
“It was a big challenge to lead a huge franchise and guide it to the title. We were struggling for past five years despite having the balance and potential. We played good cricket and to our potential,so we were successful.
“I enjoyed captaining a side full of big players and it was a big honour for me personally. But all that was a thing of past and now we have to face a new challenge,” the Mumbai captain said.