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Wanted Devdutt Padikkal to bat down to counter PBKS spinners: Sanju Samson

Last updated on 06 Apr 2023 | 05:31 AM
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Wanted Devdutt Padikkal to bat down to counter PBKS spinners: Sanju Samson

The Royals decided to open the batting with Ravichandran Ashwin as Jos Buttler was receiving treatment for his injured finger

With Jos Buttler unable to open the innings due to a finger injury for Rajasthan Royals (RR) against Punjab Kings (PBKS), skipper Sanju Samson left everyone surprised when he sent Ravichandran Ashwin ahead of someone like Devdutt Padikkal, who has opened on many occasions in the past. 

Samson explained the logic behind having Padikkal in the middle-order was for him to counter the two PBKS spinners. "The thinking behind Devdutt Padikkal at No. 4 [5] was we knew that they had a left-arm spinner [Harpreet Brar] and leg-spinner [Rahul Chahar] who would be bowling in the middle overs. So, it was important for us to have a left-hander,” Samson said in the post-match press conference. 

Buttler had injured his finger after taking the catch of Shahrukh Khan. Samson said there was not much time for Buttler to get the stitches done and come out to open. 

In pursuit of 198, Samson felt that the team needed more momentum in the middle-overs, where boundaries were hard to come by.

"Yes I think it's very important in games like this, where the momentum shifts away from you. We started off really well, we finished the powerplay really well. I think in the middle [overs] we were expecting us to get those boundaries here and there. They bowled really well, two, three overs together. That's where the momentum went a bit downward. But we did really well to get so close. A couple of fours here and there, I think we just fell short of a six, just one ball hit away," Samson said, following his side’s five-run loss against PBKS.

Dhriv Jorel came in as an impact player and nearly took RR home. The 22-year-old smashed an unbeaten 15-ball 32 and along with Shimron Hetmyer (36 off 18) nearly gave PBKS a scare. Samson believes that credit must be given to RR’s scouting and development process, allowing players like Jurel to come in a get into the groove right away.

Also Read: Who is Dhruv Jurel – the 22-year-old who nearly took down PBKS?

“That's how we work as a franchise. He has been with us for the last two seasons. He was playing a lot of domestic games. As a franchise, we tend to have camps just before the IPL,” Samson said.

“But what we made sure is that people playing domestic cricket keep coming to our academies...I think we around 5-7 camps, each for about a week, almost throughout the year. We did it in Nagpur, Jaipur, Chennai, Bangalore almost everywhere.

“We make sure that people like Dhruv Jurel, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Riyan Parag and all these guys get a lot of practice. A lot of credit has to go to our team management, especially Zubin Barucha [Director of High Performance], who is at the backend of our supporting staff. 

“He has put in a lot of hours. Making someone like a Dhruv Jurel come in and bat the way he did in his first game, playing international bowlers in a pressure situation, says a lot about him. I hope he will win us a few games in the season.”

PBKS could manage 197 for 4 in their 20 overs, largely thanks to how they started off. Prabhsimran Singh (60 off 34) took on the bowling right from the beginning, ensuring that his side had an excellent powerplay en route to a 90-run opening stand with his skipper Shikhar Dhawan (86* off 56) in just 9.4 overs.

Also Read: Prabhsimran Singh - the answer to Punjab's problems?

Impressed with the wicketkeeper-batter’s performance, batting coach Wasim Jaffer says the youngster’s form comes at the right time, especially with Jonny Bairstow out for the season.

“He’s been a fabulous player but no matter how good you are, you need a consistent run so he can play a lot more fearlessly,” said Jaffer in the post-match conference.

“He’s always been a good player and it’s good that it’s come good, which is a good sign because we don’t have Bairstow…somebody at the top bats like that so I’m really happy for him,” he added.

Sri Lanka batter Bhanuka Rajapaksa had to walk off the field after being hit on the arm. Jaffer is however hopeful that the southpaw returns for the next game. However, he could not provide any clarity over the availability of Liam Livingstone, who has not been cleared to play by the ECB.

“He had a muscular injury. Hopefully he should be alright by the next game,” Jaffer said speaking of Rajapaksa.

“Rabada probably will be available, probably not Livingstone…I’m not too sure about it,” he further elaborated.

PBKS, who have now won two in two, will hope to continue their winning momentum when they take on Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) next on Sunday (April 9) in Hyderabad.  On the other hand, RR will look to put this loss behind them when they welcome Delhi Capitals (DC) to Guwahati for the next match on Saturday (April 8). 

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