Post Warne, Royals enter new era under Dravid today

Rajasthan — who won the inaugural IPL in 2008 — will be without their former skipper-cum-mentor Shane Warne who called it quits last season. His replacement, Dravid, acknowledged that it wasn’t easy to fill Warne’s boots. 

New leader in town: Rajasthan Royals captain Rahul Dravid plays a shot during IPL-IV. Pic/AFP

“I have taken over as captain, coach and mentor from Shane Warne so there are little more expectations but I feel these are more of words and basically it all is more about coordination because there is support staff and one has to use these experts for better results,” he said yesterday.

On his young side, Dravid said: “Every team has to rely on domestic players as it is a team game, the four overseas players are not enough. I am happy that Rajasthan Royals has some very exciting players in Ajinkya Rahane, Ashok Menaria and few more.”

Wants to mentor...
Dravid said he wanted to mentor young India hopefuls Menaria and Rahane. “Menaria is an exciting talent and the way he has been batting for the last seven days our camp here has been sensational. “He is at very important stage of his career. He would be important for us and I hope good performance in this IPL would take him forward,” he said. I would be happy if I am able to use my experience and help the youngsters like Menaria and Rahane climb up the ladder,” he added. On the bowling front, Rajasthan will rely on Shaun Tait, Siddharth Trivedi, and South African star Johan Botha. 

Sreesanth injured
New recruit S Sreesanth is likely to miss the first three games owing to a toe injury. “He (Sreesanth) has still not recovered. He did bowl in the nets today but he is likely to miss first three games,” Dravid said. Punjab will rely on destructive openers Gilchrist and Paul Valthaty, Shaun Marsh, David Hussey, David Miller and Abhishek Nayar. 

On the bowling front, they will be without Ryan Harris, who is away on international duty. Praveen Kumar will lead the attack, with seamers Nathan Rimington and Vikramjeet Malik and the spin pair of Piyush Chawla and Ramesh Powar forming a capable bowling outfit.

Gilchrist’s wishlist
* Return to blazing best with opening partner Paul Valthaty
* Praveen Kumar can lead bowling attack with precision
* David Hussey continues to fire
* Piyush Chawla and Ramesh Powar form potent spin duo
* Fellow Western Australian Shaun Marsh regains his mojo

Dravid’s wishlist
* Carry forward Shane Warne’s legacy
* Keep openers Adam Gilchrist and Paul Valthaty on a leash
* S Sreesanth recovers from injury and leads pace-attack
* Express fast bowler Shaun Tait hits top rhythm early
* India hopeful Ashok Menaria lives up to the hype 

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