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Mentoring key to IPL, Ajinkya Rahane must don role at Rajasthan Royals

Rajasthan Royals, led by Ajinkya Rahane, have played six matches so far and won just three, so it’s not been a happy comeback, and have endured a couple of set backs in 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL 2018) including losing Steve Smith, their designated captain and in a way mentor.

cricket Updated: Apr 23, 2018 11:30 IST
Sanjay Manjrekar
Sanjay Manjrekar
Hindustan Times
IPL 2018,Rajasthan Royals,Ajinkya Rahane
Rajasthan Royals team captain Ajinkya Rahane sets his field during the 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL 2018) match against Mumbai Indians at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Sunday. (AFP)

It’s a very likeable team, the Rajasthan Royals. When it got embroiled in the illegal betting and spot-fixing scandal and was penalised with a two-year ban, the face of the franchise Rahul Dravid fronted up. RR took ownership of their mistakes and are back. (IPL schedule | Results)

They, led by Ajinkya Rahane, have played six matches so far and won just three, so it’s not been a happy comeback. They had some serious setbacks even before the IPL season began, losing Steve Smith, their designated captain and in a way mentor, being one. (RR vs MI match highlights)

Captaining an IPL team is a bit like an international player captaining his Ranji team. He does what a captain is generally expected to do, but more is expected from him.

Like with state associations, IPL team owners expect their captains to mentor the wide-eyed, young, domestic Indian players in the squad, so also the emerging overseas players.

Ruthless format

T20 as a concept is ruthless. It mandates your best performance all the time. A bowler cannot be bowling only 80% of his ability and hope to survive; he will be taken to the cleaners if he does that.

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So also the batsmen. “I am not quite feeling 100% today so maybe I will take it a little easy tonight,” Boom! You have signed your death warrant as a batsman.

Form can be up and down but your commitment can never be. And to be in good form in T20s what’s needed is high confidence. This is an imperative because you are trying to achieve results all the time.

In the longer formats you can take some time out in trying to get your confidence up through the course of the match. But in T20s, you have to be mentally upbeat from ball one whether you are a batsman or bowler. That is why I believe mentoring becomes a key activity in any IPL side.

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Some are confident individuals and it takes a lot for their confidence levels to sink, but these are rare players. However, most are vulnerable to mood and confidence swings dependant on their performance on the night.

A team that keeps its players’ confidence up no matter what is one that will have continued success in T20s.

Ajinkya Rahane must become that mentor for Rajasthan Royals.

Courtesy: TCM

First Published: Apr 23, 2018 11:13 IST