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IPL 2014: Rajasthan Royals’ team ethos and values have remained intact since first season

Some of the team selections by rajasthan Royals defy logic, but they have managed to turn them in to a trump card every time © IANS
Some of the team selections by rajasthan Royals defy logic, but they have managed to turn them in to a trump card every time © IANS

Rajasthan Royals’ character is outstanding and helps them record unlikely victories, writes Nishad Pai Vaidya.

It takes great character and belief to take six wickets in eight balls at a stage when all seemed lost. But, you can trust the Rajasthan Royals (RR) to pull off such heists from time to time with all their resilience and the never-say-die attitude. The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 has seen Rajasthan put in some good performances, but the victory against Kolkata Knight Riders at Ahmedabad would stand out for irrespective of the outcomes of their remaining games. Kolkata were cruising with their opening stand in place when Shane Watson and Pravin Tambe unleashed carnage.

This isn’t the first time Rajasthan has pulled such a miraculous win. Back in 2009, the Mumbai Indians were left shell-shocked at Durban when they defended six runs from the last eight balls. Abhishek Nayar was in for Mumbai and there were four wickets in hand. But, out of nowhere, Shane Warne set attacking fields and didn’t allow Mumbai to get away. The last over saw three wickets falling and Rajasthan clinched victory by a mere two runs.

Such performances reflect on the philosophy and the ethos of the side. Sure, they have undergone a few changes since 2009, but their value system behind building a team has remained unchanged. Described by many as the “moneyball” team, they believe in utilising resources to their fullest and bringing the best out of players. A lot has been said or written about the numerous youngsters who emerge from their side and gain confidence from the experience. But, there is so much in their backroom that influences their play on field.

We may as well reflect on the intangible side of things. As they back these hungry youngsters, who are waiting to make a point, there is that insatiable desire for victory. These youngsters are usually successful domestic players, who do not get the same attention for their performances there. With that in mind, they have a crack at the impossible and that resilience is quite natural. When you have a few of them in your eleven, it automatically rubs off on the others. Plus, you have Shane Watson, the captain who is very much a part of this philosophy. Back in 2008, he came to the IPL to prove a point and he hasn’t looked back since.

There are quite a few decisions taken by Rajasthan that have often defied logic. But, on close examination, it had a specific mark around it. Take the example of Tambe. Who would have picked a 41-year-old with no domestic experience? But a year down the line, he is their star. Also, they opened the batting with Ajinkya Rahane and Rahul Dravid for quite a while, players who are technically correct and may not score too fast. But, it did work wonders for them with the stability at the top.

Thus, Rajasthan stands out not for the players they unearth but all their ethics and the team culture that has remained intact since the first season. Men may come and go, but this institution lives on. Warne has truly left something remarkable at the IPL.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)

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