Home > Features > Interviews >

Dravid will carry forward Warne’s legacy for Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2012: Menaria

Dravid will carry forward Warne's legacy for Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2012: Menaria

Ashok Menaria (c) caught attention of everyone by scalping the prized wicket of Indian batting legend Sachin Tendulkar in the fourth edition of Indian Premier League © AFP

By Amrut Thobbi

Ashok Menaria will be one of the many talented cricketers to watch out for in the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League. He caught attention by scalping the prized wicket of Indian batting legend Sachin Tendulkar in the fourth edition of Indian Premier League (IPL).

The all-rounder’s success is not limited just to the IPL; he has proven his mettle in the Ranji Trophy as well. His three back-to-back centuries in Ranji Trophy last season made the national media sit up and take notice of his talent. Shane Warne hailed Menaria as the next big thing in Indian cricket.

In an exclusive interview to CricketCountryMenaria talks about Rajasthan’s success story in Ranji Trophy, his contribution to Rajasthan and his dismissal of Tendulkar.

 

CricketCountry (CC): Rajasthan have won back-to-back Ranji Trophys in 2011-12. What do you attribute this splendid success to?

Ashok Menaria (AM): I think a lot of credit should go to the administration. They take complete care of the players. Last year when I suffered a groin injury, the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) decided to send me to Germany for surgery. Also, the seniors in the team are very supportive; especially our captain Hrishikesh Kanitkar. His contribution has been huge.

CC: After two victories, do you think Rajasthan can now be considered a powerhouse in Indian domestic cricket?

AM: No. You can be a powerhouse only if you have big players from your team representing the country one day. Teams like Mumbai have had five players representing India in the past after winning Ranji Trophy. Until Rajasthan have a major representation in the national team, one cannot say they are force in Indian cricket.

CC: Do you think selectors have been unfair on Rajasthan cricketers?

AM: I wouldn’t say they have been unfair. No matter how many runs you score or take wickets in one Ranji season, you can’t become a polished cricketer overnight. I guess we will have to be more consistent to get an opportunity to play for India.

CC: Following Vineet Saxena’s outstanding 2011-12 season, Sunil Gavaskar felt the national selectors should give the Rajasthan batsman a chance in the Indian team. How important are such accolades to the morale of players?

AM: If you win back-to-back Ranji Trophy, the whole world sits back and takes notice. Now if someone of the stature of Sunil Gavaskar appreciates individual performances, then it’s definitely a morale booster for the entire team.

CC: Your best performance this season has been 230 runs against the Railways in the group stages of the Ranji Trophy. Can you describe that innings?

AM: I was out of form last season. I struggled badly in the two matches preceding the Railways tie. The poorly-prepared pitch made matters worse. But as I played few deliveries, I realised the wicket is not as bad to bat as I thought it would be, and that runs can be scored on the track.  I decided to first spend some time on the wicket early and started scoring after a while. The rest is history.

CC: You scored a hundred against Baroda in the second innings of the Ranji Trophy final last year. How do you rate that innings, compared to this year’s double hundred versus the Railways?

AM: I think the hundred scored in the final last year has been my best innings so far because when I arrived to bat our team was in a precarious condition. We were struggling at 60 runs for the loss of four wickets. We were under immense pressure in that match. To score a century under pressure was immensely satisfying for me. It helped my team win which counts more than anything else.

 

CC: The specialty of this ton was that it was third in a row in the last Ranji season – and that too in your debut Ranji Trophy season. How did you motivate yourself to perform with such splendour as a debutant?

AM: I think playing my natural game was the key. After returning from the surgery in Germany, I was a bit confused as how to approach my batting. Should I play my natural game, which is aggressive, or alter? That was the question bothering me. Our skipper Kanitkar suggested I play my natural game. He opined that whenever I batted aggressively, team’s scoring rate improved. His advice helped and I stuck to my natural style of play which paid dividends.

 

CC: Tendulkar was stumped off your bowling in IPL 4 which is brilliant, as the maestro has been stumped only once in Test cricket. What were your thoughts on getting the prized wicket?

AM: Obviously I was jubilant. Sachin Tendulkar is my idol, God. Playing with him is an achievement in itself. I got the video of that dismissal which I watch as an inspiration.

CC: In the IPL, you have had the opportunity to brush shoulders with international cricketers like Graeme Smith, Rahul Dravid, and Shane Watson. What did you learn from these cricketers?

AM: Last year was my best cricketing year in both Ranji Trophy and the IPL. The aforesaid cricketers are legends of the game. They are very friendly and cooperative. Moreover, playing with and against players of these statures automatically lifts your game. After playing high quality cricket, the domestic cricket doesn’t seem even half difficult.

CC: In 2009, you were entrusted with the responsibility of captaincy of the India U-19 team on the tour to Australia. You were successful on that tour winning the ODI series 2-1. How was the experience?

AM:  It was a great experience as it was the first time I represented India and that too as a captain. This victory was special as it was inAustralia as conditions are challenging to play there.

CC: The IPL 5 will be the first season where Rajasthan Royals will be without Shane Warne. Will it affect team’s performance?

AM: Last year we did well. Unfortunately we lost few matches and ended at the fifth position. This year, the team is quiet strong even without Warne. But I am sure in his absence, Rahul Dravid will do well in leading the team.

CC: What do you think has been Shane Warne’s biggest contribution to Royals?

AM: Discipline. I think he laid the foundation. The set up is there. We just need to implement things that have already been structured.

CC: How do you rate Warne as a captain?

AM: I think he is the best captain for juniors. He gives a lot of confidence to juniors. He shows you how to play big cricket. His ways make you mentally fit.

CC: What can we expect from Ashok Menaria in the IPL 5? 

AM: I would like to play with more maturity. Last year I did not deliver as per my potential owing to lack of maturity in my play. I hope I can display better cricket this year.

(Amrut Thobbi, an engineering graduate now pursuing Masters in journalism, is an ardent cricket fan. His passion for writing inspired him to give up a sales and marketing job, which he does not regret. By writing on cricket, he wants to relive his dream of becoming a cricketer. He has also worked as a freelance writer in education and technology sectors)

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 23, 2014 (08:50 IST)   at Sydney

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 23, 2014 (12:00 IST)   at Chittagong

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 24, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah

More

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 22, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 87 runs

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Melbourne

Australia won by 3 wkts

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 20, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled(Match rescheduled to 21/11/2014)

Photos

Australia vs South Africa, 3rd ODI at Canberra

Videos

SL vs Eng: Buttler practices wicketkeeping in nets

PCB’s biggest challenge is to bring back international cricket to Pakistan: Subhan Ahmad

Tim Southee’s 50 Test sixes and related records

India vs Australia 2014: India may have heavy dose of pace in store in 1st Test

Ross Taylor’s crucial knock against Pakistan will boost his sub-par subcontinent record

Stuart Binny — can the all-rounder be a trump card for India in ODIs?

Australia Australia vs South Africa Australia vs South Africa 2014 India New Zealand New Zealand tour of UAE 2014 New Zealand vs Pakistan New Zealand vs Pakistan 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs New Zealand Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of Australia 2014 South Africa vs Australia South Africa vs Australia 2014

Bhuvneshwar Kumar says rhythm is key ahead of India’s tour of Australia 2014-15

India vs Australia 2014-15: Harry Conway replaces Gurinder Sandhu in CA XI squad

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014: Ahmed Shehzad set to return for ODIs; Sohaib Maqsood ruled out

Australia vs India 2014: Shane Watson uninterested in captaining Australia

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014: New Zealand’s overseas performances have impressed Mike Hesson

Rohit Sharma: India are serious contenders

South Africa may lose momentum ahead of ICC World Cup 2015

Has Umesh Yadav cemented his place in India’s ICC World Cup 2015 squad?

The Melbourne Cricket Club is formed

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014: Sabbir Rahman fires explosive 44 on debut

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

681 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Virat Kohli vs Australian cricketers

Watch Free Live Streaming & Telecast of Indian Super League (ISL) 2014 Football 37th Match between Kerala Blasters FC vs Atletico de Kolkata

PK Tharki Chokro making: Rancho aka Aamir Khan and Munna Bhai aka Sanjay Dutt shake legs to this folk number

Simbu-Hansika’s Vaalu slated for Christmas release!

Yeh Hai Mohabbatein: Will Raman and Ishita help Mihika with her plans?

Alibaba to launch its Taobao marketplace in international markets: Reuters

8 reasons to add rosemary to your diet

eBay India ‘Black Friday’ sale kicks off today

How many calories do bananas have?

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here