With the big names missing, the Sunrisers Hyderabad are holding a three-day preparatory camp for the uncapped Indian lot and those who didn’t feature in the recently concluded ICC World T20.
While the Indian players will sweat it out with the complete coaching staff – Tom Moody, VVS Laxman and Kris Srikkanth – in Hyderabad till April 11, the international stars will join the team in UAE.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Naman Ojha, who is attending the camp, in an interaction with The Indian Express, talks about his preparations for the seventh edition of the cash-rich tournament and the road ahead.
How have been your preparations for the IPL?
I had a good domestic season. Scored a lot of runs (835 runs at an average of 69.58) in the Ranji Trophy and feel my preparations for the IPL are very good. Even in the Deodhar Trophy match against East Zone, I played a good knock (65 not out) and got some runs under my belt. Though I didn’t have a good Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (21 runs in four matches), but I am batting well and in good shape for the upcoming matches.
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Where do you want to see yourself after the IPL?
I want to perform well for the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL and try to make a return to the Indian team.
Anything particular you are working on to achieve it?
I can hit the ball big with ease. So in order to cover all aspects of the game, I am working hard on my singles game and rotating the strike. Yes, IPL is all about the big hits but that is not a concern for me. I have always done that and feel confident to do that again. It’s the singles bit which I’m paying attention to.
You have had a mixed IPL experience – a promising start with Rajasthan Royals and an ordinary stint with Delhi Daredevils. What went wrong with Delhi?
I scored a lot of runs for Rajasthan Royals and had a good season with them. With Delhi, I didn’t get to bat up the order. Most of the times, I came in at No. 6 or 7 position. Batting low down the order doesn’t give you many overs to play. Towards the end, the bowlers also don’t give many scoring opportunities.
With the Sunrisers Hyderabad, who have a very top-heavy batting line-up, where will you prefer to bat?
Anywhere up the order. I’m very comfortable batting at No. 3 or 4 position.
Is it difficult to be a wicketkeeper-batsman in a country led by a wicketkeeper in all three formats?
See, I am a proper batsman. I will say I am a batsman who can keep wickets. I have no problem, and can play as a proper batsman in a team. Even in the Deodhar Trophy, I didn’t keep wickets and played as a specialist batsman.
After a rigorous domestic season, how do you plan to stay injury-free?
I regularly train to stay in proper shape for the season. Even now, I just came from the gym. I’m happy with the way both my game and fitness are at the moment.