Shane Warne and Ajinkya Rahane may be at the opposite ends of the personality spectrum, but K Gowtham, the allrounder, believes such combinations within the setup will bring the best out of Rajasthan Royals.
With Warne heading the backroom staff as the Rajasthan mentor, one would expect a lot of flamboyance and fireworks. Thrust into a captaincy role after Steven Smith was banned from IPL 2018, Rahane is the ice to Warne’s fire. The duo working in tandem along with similar alliances in the team makes for a veritable melting pot of influences.
“We all know that opposites attract; when two completely different personalities like Shane Warne, who is aggressive and takes his chances, and Jinx (Rahane), who is always steady and likes to go with the flow, come together it makes for a great combination,” said Gowtham on Saturday (April 14), the eve of the Rajasthan’s clash against Royal Challengers Bangalore. “That’s the beauty of our team, we have all the ingredients required in a great team. We have an aggressor and we have someone who can sail the ship throughout, so it’s been a good mix and match.”
Over the years, Rajasthan have always been hailed for backing uncapped Indian players, while having an experienced think tank to groom youngsters. Back after a two-year hiatus, Rajasthan have balanced picking young men with potential such as D’Arcy Short and Jofra Archer, with two of the season’s costliest buys in Jaydev Unadkat and Ben Stokes. Along with Warne and Zubin Bharucha, the head of cricket, Rajasthan also roped in veterans like Amol Muzumdar as the batting coach and Sairaj Bahutule as the bowling coach.
Hailing Warne’s influence, Gowtham, who was bought for Rs 6.2 crore, said, “He laid the foundation of Rajasthan in the first season, we do a lot of brainstorming with him. He’s a great thinker of the game and passes on so much information to each of us.”
Although Bangalore restricted Punjab to 155 on the back of Umesh Yadav’s three-wicket haul on Friday, it seemed like the Chinnaswamy surface had shed the aura of sluggishness it wore last season. Gowtham, part of the Karnataka trio of Shreyas Gopal and Stuart Binny in Rajasthan, said even they were looking forward to see how the pitch would behave. “We were keen on watching the Punjab game because even we were curious as to how the wicket would play out,” he said. “We saw that the bowlers got a little bit of grip initially, so it’s an added advantage. The way RCB batsmen tackled spin was very good.
“But the Punjab batters took on spinners very early,” he went on. “Maybe if they would have given themselves a little bit of time, as Virat later said, it might have been a high scoring game of around 200 and a similar chase as well.”
Gowtham added that Rajasthan couldn’t afford to take any of the Bangalore batsmen lightly and had plans for one of the most potent top order in the league “We all know RCB bats deep, we are planning a few things. I’m also looking forward to bowl to the best in the business, so it’s a learning curve for me as well. We can’t underestimate any player, we have different plans for each of their batsmen. We have been working on it, hope it comes out well.”