Ahead of the Champions League Twenty20, there were a lot of speculations as to whether the Rajasthan squad could deliver their best considering the tough times faced by the team management of late. The team that won the maximum points and the fair play award in the IPL 2013 was marred in controversies as their key players were found guilty of spot-fixing charges in the cash-rich tournament.
It was a sad phase for a team that is led by a man who is someone still living up to ‘cricket is a gentleman’s game’ tag. It was an uphill task for Rahul Dravid to motivate the boys to continue doing well after a phase which would have broken his faith into pieces.
Rajasthan Royals were a squad everybody was proud of in the Indian Premier League 2013. Their skipper led from the front, and one could imagine the discipline he had instilled into the team. While other skippers were seen abusing fellow teammates and triggering controversies every now and then, Dravid was probably the only to apologise for an unfair appeal made by his teammate. But as several players were banned from cricket for different spans, it was yet to be seen whether the Royals could sustain their rhythm and the confidence in the Champions League Twenty 20.
But right from the first match in the tournament, Rajasthan looked like a unit that was determined to live in the present. Apart from Shane Watson, the Rajasthan squad doesn’t boast of players who can smash sixes all over the park. Their strength lies in individual performances. When the going gets tough, they suddenly have a new hero, who comes with a match-winning performance to lift the morale of the entire squad.
Rajasthan Royals are probably the only team that believes in not only nurturing the young talent, but also encouraging the veterans to do well. Dravid (40), Brad Hodge (38), and Brad Hogg (42) are names that have consistently done well for the Royals over the years. And much to the surprise of many, they found a new hero in 41-year-old Pravin Tamble who bamboozled the Highveld Lions with his spin.
Meanwhile, while the veterans take the responsibility of putting all their experience into each match, youngsters like Stuart Binny, Sanju Samson and Kevon Cooper make sure they don’t let the seniors feel the heat by soaking up the pressure.
The only reason why Rajasthan look an unperturbed side despite the recent controversies could probably be because their leader is a man who has earned enormous respect all over the world. Just like all the fans, the youngsters in the squad know that Dravid isn’t a skipper who is fit for the shortest format of the game. But he is adamant to compete with the best in the business, and while he continues to do so in a tournament that is probably his last in T20 cricket, Rajasthan Royals would want to give a grand farewell to the man we all respect.