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The battle for revival

Both Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab will look to regain their lost glory in IPL. Khurram Habib reports. Face-off

india Updated: Apr 06, 2012 02:35 IST
Khurram Habib
Khurram Habib
Hindustan Times
Khurram Habib,Rajasthan Royals,Jaipur

Fresh guard and Rahul Dravid, as usual, played the first ones with straight bat. Asked whether this will be his last IPL, the new Rajasthan Royals skipper said, "I just want to concentrate on the next two months of IPL."

Rajasthan Royals begin their fresh campaign under a new captain who, though equally acclaimed internationally, has as different a nature as possible to Shane Warne, the former RR skipper.

Warne always spoke his mind and lived life to the fullest, on and off the field. Dravid is reserved and goes about his business quietly.

A new chapter

How Rajasthan Royals have gelled under Dravid will be clear only on Friday, when they face Kings XI Punjab in the opener.

Although Dravid's one-day record is phenomenal, he has over the years been captioned as a Test player. In that backdrop, this will be a litmus test.

"I have been playing this for four years now. At that stage (when he was first picked by RCB), it was just the beginning. Yes, there is a lot more responsibility and expectations now."

On Thursday morning at the Rajasthan Cricket Academy nets, it was a Dravid trying to re-invent his game, going for lofted hits.

His teammates too followed, hitting many in the pool that’s been left dry after RCB’s Chris Gayle last year created a headache for the locals by hitting regularly in the water.

Raring to go
Do these shots mean a change in style? “No, I am not practicing any different shots.”

What irked him most was probably the way people were treating him as junk machine being put into work again. He is well-oiled, he insisted.

“I've just retired from cricket. It's not that I've been away from cricket for long. This is just a continuation."

Dravid will be up against a seasoned pro Adam Gilchrist, who has already led Deccan Chargers to a title but is trying to recreate that magic with Kings XI Punjab.

First Published: Apr 06, 2012 00:45 IST