Home > Features >

IPL 2013: Watson, Hodge walk into the side as proven match-winners for Rajasthan Royals

IPL 2013: Watson, Hodge walk into the side as proven match-winners for Rajasthan Royals

Brad Hodge (left) is a finisher and one of the finest T20 players going around. On the other hand, Shane Watson s (right) role may be restricted to batting, but he is a huge asset and packs the line-up with much punch © AFP

By Nishad Pai Vaidya

In the summer of 2008, Shane Warne inspired a side of relative young and unknowns to a memorable victory in the inaugural Indian Premier League (IPL). Rajasthan was then the weakest side on paper, but the side had the X-factor that saw them lift the title.

Rajasthan have maintained the same formula in all their seasons without winning the title again. They do not have a wealth of heavyweights like some of the other franchises. What they have in their roster are impact players — those with the ability to turn games almost single-handedly.

With Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane at the top, Rajasthan have the most classical opening pair in the league.

Both approach the game with the kind of finesse that’s like a puff of fragrance amid the corruptions of the format. While Dravid is all about solidity, Rahane is comparatively flamboyant. In fact, Rahane made a huge impact last IPL season with his dashing approach. He showed it’s possible to maintain a healthy strike-rate without eschewing the tenets of the coaching manuals.

Rajasthan may have some problems picking their foreign players as each of them present strong cases for selection. With an upper limit of four on foreign players in the playing eleven, Rajasthan would necessarily have to end up benching some fabulous players. Shane Watson and Brad Hodge are two men who would walk into the side as proven match-winners. Watson’s role may be restricted to batting, but he is a huge asset and packs the line-up with much punch. On the other hand, Hodge is a finisher and one of the finest T20 players going around. They need his experience and calmness in the middle order.

Owais Shah can be dangerous. Considering his unorthodox approach and ability to hit the ball in uncanny areas, Shah is an important player in the T20 format. However, Rajasthan also have all-rounders in Kevon Cooper and James Faulkner who can be huge value to the side. Sri Lankan Kusal Perera also has made an impression in his international outings.

Samuel Badree and the veteran Brad Hogg are the overseas spinning options. Their fate would also depend on the combination Rajasthan opt for. It looks like they might back their Indian spinners and would pick foreign players in other departments. Harmeet Singh, the star of India’s Under-19 World Cup triumph in 2012, will be the one to watch out for as he looks forward to transition at a higher level. A lot would be expected of Ajit Chandila, the man who impressed during the last season. Ankeet Chavan is another candidate in the spin department and is one bowler who can restrict the flow of runs. Ashok Menaria may also roll his arm over, if needed.

Interestingly, Rajasthan’s three frontline seamers are Shaun Tait, Fidel Edwards and Shantakumaran Sreesanth. They are genuine wicket-takers, but can go for plenty on a bad day. Playing then together would be a huge gamble as Rajasthan may have a lot to do if they struggle in the same game. Siddharth Trivedi would be the domestic player they would field regularly as a fast-bowler.

In most of the past seasons, Rajasthan have introduced domestic players who have gone on to make a name for themselves. Some of them have continued to build on the promise, while others have slipped into obscurity. This season, the players who could invoke interest are Sanju Samson, Sachin Baby and the young Kumar Boresa.

On a whole, Rajasthan have their method in place and it is just a matter of striking the right balance. They must guard against losing their way midway in the tournament and must capitalise on every opportunity to win games. It was that ruthlessness and the never-say-die spirit that saw them taste success in 2008.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and an analyst, anchor and voice-over artist for the site’s YouTube Channel. He shot to fame by spotting a wrong replay during IPL4 which resulted in Sachin Tendulkar’s dismissal. His insights on the game have come in for high praise from cerebral former cricketers. He has also participated on live TV talk-shows on cricket. Nishad can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nishad_44)

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

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

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 28, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Adelaide

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 28, 2014 (12:00 IST)   at Dhaka

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 29, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo


Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 26, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 124 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 26, 2014  at Colombo

Sri Lanka won by 25 runs

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 24, 2014  at Colombo

Hong Kong won by 2 wkts

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 68 runs

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Sydney

Australia won by 2 wickets (D/L method)


Phil Hughes suffers head injury: In photos


AB de Villiers: Disappointed with defeat in Australia

Daniel Vettori becomes the most capped New Zealand player

Quinton de Kock equals record for most centuries before the age of 22

Wriddhiman Saha’s performance in the 1st Test at Brisbane could make or break his career

England tour of Sri Lanka 2014: Stats overview of past encounters

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014: New Zealand’s inspired performance in 2nd Test serves important lesson to non-Asian countries

Australia Australia vs South Africa 2014 Bangladesh Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014 England India India tour of Australia 2014-15 South Africa Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs England Zimbabwe Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh 2014 Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh 2014

Phil Hughes injury: A cruel example of game’s risks

India tour of Australia 2014-15: Allan Border, Ian Healy feel 1st Test at Brisbane should go ahead

England tour of Sri Lanka 2014: England lack killer instinct, feels Alastair Cook

Jacques Kallis to make his debut as caddy

Moeen Ali, Ravi Bopara’s efforts go in vain as Sri Lanka trump England by 25 runs in 1st ODI

Moeen Ali becomes third fastest centurion for England in ODIs

Ishant Sharma — Is his current ODI form good enough to earn him a place in ICC World Cup 2015 squad?

The birth of Day Night cricket matches

Phillip Hughes head injury: Are helmets making batsmen complacent?

Daniel Vettori becomes the most capped New Zealand player

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

682 Posts | 6 Fans

Video: Phil Hughes suffers head injury, collapses on field during New South Wales vs South Australia tie

Bigg Boss: Hot Pakistani model Veena Malik and husband arrested on blasphemy charges

மணப்பெண் அழகு சரிபார்ப்பு பட்டியல் – உங்கள் திருமணத்திற்கு ஒரு மாதத்திற்கு முன் என்ன செய்ய வேண்டும்

Bigg Boss 8: Is Gautam Gulati out of the house?

More broadband connections to boost GDP growth in Asia Pacific: GSMA

Scoop: Is Sid Mallya really gay? Watch video to find out!

Microsoft Lumia 535: First non-Nokia low budget Windows smartphone set to be launched today

रितेश-जेनेलिया देशमुख के घर पुत्ररत्न का हुआ जन्म

India is becoming our largest overseas market, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here