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Royals battle awaits Warriors

When they first met, Shane Warne confused Ashok Menaria’s surname with malaria! He nicknamed him doxy, derived from a malaria medicine he carried during his visits to India. Khurram Habib reports.

cricket Updated: May 01, 2011 00:29 IST
Khurram Habib

When they first met, Shane Warne confused Ashok Menaria’s surname with malaria! He nicknamed him doxy, derived from a malaria medicine he carried during his visits to India.

And when doxy rolled his arm over, the Rajasthan Royals skipper got a whiff of something special.

“He’s what Ravindra Jadeja was for us during the first IPL season. Only this guy is cleverer,” said Warne, when asked why he reposed so much faith in the Udaipur lad, who scored three successive centuries quarterfinal onwards in the Ranji Trophy this season.

Warne made him open the bowling against Sachin Tendulkar’s Mumbai Indians on Friday and the former India U-19 captain snared the legend.

“If someone else would have got this much faith from Warne, even he would have done as well as I have,” said Menaria, acknowledging the Aussie’s leadership skills.

“He told me at the start that I’ll be a key player and that I have to bowl tight.”

BONDING WELL
Being in the Rajasthan Royals camp seems to be fun then and wicketkeeper Dishant Yagnik and Menaria both vouch for Warne’s big contribution in building the atmosphere.

“Warne has named a leader for every department,” Yagnik told reporters.

And it is not just the conventional ones, like fielding, bowling and batting. There is a social department too which Yagnik heads, taking care of people’s birthday celebrations.

“It helps in analysing leadership skills and in building them,” said Yagnik.

With all the cheeriness in the camp, the Royals should start favourites against a Pune Warriors side languishing at the bottom. Playing at home is an advantage and Warne and Co know that.

“You know the ground, the field positions, the gaps, the places to go to, the weather and the bed you go to sleep in.

So that’s an advantage of playing at home,” Warne said after the win over the Mumbai Indians.

Spin will again be a key factor against the Warriors, who have plenty of strokeplayers. It’ll be interesting to see what
surprises Warne throws up when he takes on Yuvraj Singh’s men.

The Warriors have plenty of hard-hitters. Warne will be wary of them.

But what may work to his advantage is the fact that this ground is some five yards bigger than the others and the pitch slower. That gives his bowlers plenty of leeway.