Credit for Rajasthan’s success goes to Warne: Naman Ojha

Credit for Rajasthan’s success goes to Warne: Naman Ojha  Opening bat and stumper Naman Ojha is a vital member in master strategist Shane Warne’s Rajasthan Royals team. Naman rose from almost obscurity to stardom during the second edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) when he put up the highest opening partnership (135 runs) of the tournament with Graeme Smith against Kings XI Punjab.

The diminutive Madhya Pradesh wicket-keeper batsman is one of those low-profile cricketers, who thrives under the astute leadership of the Aussie legend and makes Rajasthan Royals a force to reckon with in the cash-rich Indian league. Naman helped Rajasthan Royals seal their fourth consecutive victory against Chennai Super Kings in IPL-III with a blistering knock of 80 runs. In a freewheeling chat with’s Biswajit Jha, Naman touched upon different aspects of his batting and the incredible qualities of Shane Warne as a captain among other things.

What’s the secret behind your good performance at the IPL so far?

It’s all about believing in your ability. I was getting good starts, but somehow, was not able to score big. I am happy that I played an 80-run innings against Chennai Super Kings. I was a bit lucky that day.

Do you think that batting in T20 is all about luck?

It’s true that you need luck, but at the same time, you have to play well to score runs. Luck is important for every thing you do but then again, it’s not everything.

What then is the main formula of T20 batting?

In Twenty20 you need to attack from the word go. But it’s not about mindless slogs. One needs to play smart cricket to succeed in Twenty20 too. Look at how Sachin Tendulkar is playing…He has shown that T20 is not about agricultural hitting all the time.

The way you play in IPL is really fast. Is it your normal batting style?

It’s my normal style of batting. I love to play big shots and T20 suits my style of playing.

You are not a natural opener…Are you comfortable in opening the innings in the shortest version of the game?

Yeah, you are right…I am not a natural opener. I play in the middle-order in the four-day Ranji Trophy matches, but in 50-over Ranji matches I come at the top. I like to open in the shorter formats of the game. So, when Warne asked me to open the innings for Rajasthan Royals, I was more than happy.

Do you have any specific role in the side?

My exact role for Rajasthan Royals is to give them a good start. Warne always asks me to play my normal attacking game.Now the question that everyone is asking…how is Shane Warne as a captain?

He is brilliant…fantastic as a captain. He is the best captain I have played under. He is innovative and always remains cool under pressure.

What sets him apart from other captains?

He backs his players to the hilt. He gives every player in the team a sense of security which helps them to play their normal cricket. He never hesitates to take risks. Even in times of adversity, he asks us to enjoy our game. He takes the pressure off us. This, I think, makes us such a formidable outfit in the IPL.

Have you changed anything after the poor start this time?

We did not change our playing style despite losing three early matches. In cricket, you may lose one day and win on another despite trying equally hard both the times. But if you believe in yourself and your abilities, you will definitely win.

What are the secret weapons of the Rajasthan’s enormous success despite not having the best team on paper?

We never care for such things. Warne instills a self-belief in every member of the team that helps us in crunch moments.

You were in the list of probables for Twenty20 World Cup. But you failed to make the cut. Do you think that your 80-run knock came a bit too late? Had you played that knock a week earlier, you could have been selected?

I can’t say about that. You may be right, but I am happy with what I am doing now. I just want to perform consistently.Who is your favourite cricketer?

Since I am a wicket-keeper batsman, I always look up to Adam Gilchrist as my idol. The way he bats is mind-boggling.