Kumble though disagrees, feels Rahul had a point to make
Individually too, Rahul had a point or two to prove. I have always believed that strong individuals can always re-appear and that belief was upheld, writes Anil Kumble.india Updated: Apr 20, 2009 01:06 IST
It is indeed a good feeling to have the first match out of the way and with a win to boot. Sometimes, you can prepare all you want and not get the desired results but somehow this is a different team to the one you saw last year. This is a different group and we have set out to achieve something and I daresay the result of our opening match is ample evidence of my claim.
In fact, on the opening, day, a few of us did show that you can teach an old dog new tricks, didn’t we? Yes, even we retirees have a role to play. The T20 game may not be for oldies but as Sachin and Rahul also showed, we can have our days.
More seriously, I would be the first to admit that a few things were missing last year but this time our preparation has been intense and spot on. Spending nearly two weeks in Johannesburg and playing five practice matches gave us a good feel of the local conditions. The time well spent also made for a feeling of togetherness and here I would bring up the adage that it is not individual talent but teamwork that matters.
Individually too, Rahul had a point or two to prove. I have always believed that strong individuals can always re-appear and that belief was upheld. On pitches with bounce and movement, it is technique not flashiness that helps. If not for Rahul’s technique, Rajasthan’s bowlers would have looked far more effective than they did.
I’m also glad to see Rahul amongst the runs because this means that if any two other batsman from Jesse (Ryder), Ross (Taylor), Kevin (Pietersen) and Robin (Uthappa) click, we’re looking at a serious score. With our fast bowling looking twice as good in South Africa we are on our way. Praveen’s ability to move the ball, Vinay’s effectiveness and Steyn’s pace makes for a heady combination.
As for my own bowling, I was quite intrigued with my performance. I’m coming off a long break and may be retired but the moment I’m on the field, ball in hand, the feeling is the same as always. And in any format, a five-wicket haul makes you feel you’re in the thick of things.
The momentum is with the Royal Challengers and I expect a cracker of a tournament. It is always good to learn from mistakes and we have taken care to learn from last year’s experiences. A lot of good work has gone in and it is bound to pay off.