Royals: A talent factory under Dravid - The New Indian Express

Royals: A talent factory under Dravid

Published: 07th October 2013 07:51 AM

Last Updated: 21st October 2013 11:29 PM

From underdogs to title favourites, Rajasthan Royals have been a living example of how talent prevails over everything else in the long run. They came into the Champions League T20 as also rans but gave many a star-studded team a run for their money.

Evolution and revolution, they have seen it all. And finally, the Royals seem to have cracked the code when it comes to talent hunting.

On one side, when top IPL teams like Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings boasted of star-studded line-ups, the Rahul Dravid-led outfit turned an ordinary looking squad into a match-winning one. A new star was born in every other match. This transition can be attributed to a lot of factors, starting from Dravid’s captaincy to building a positive team environment. Guess, a magic potion of the Rajasthani Lassi has turned them into cricketing wizards on the field.

Dravid had rightly pointed out at the start of the tournament that in-form youngsters like Sanju Samson and Ajinkya Rahane more than made up for the lack of big stars. “We recognise, we don’t have as many big stars as other teams and want performance from all our players. I provide freedom to all team members to express themselves and don’t blame them. It is about culture and environment and the freedom to express which helps perform as a team,” he had said.

Fortune favours the brave and it sure has been a bit partial to this Royals side. Blame it on luck or sheer talent, the Royals churned out winner after winner as the tournament progressed.

Vikramjeet Malik turned a star overnight after his three-wicket haul against Mumbai Indians in their opening match. The next game saw a 41-year-old by the name of Pravin Tambe grab the spotlight. This Mumbaikar has been the find of the tournament, for he played a match-winner not once but twice, steering them into the semifinals.

Dravid was all praise for this veteran, who is still young at heart. “We always knew he has the skills. Some people were surprised because he is 41 and there were a few raised eyebrows when we selected him, but he has the mental strength to come true. It takes a good temperament to play in such an environment and he has showed he has it in him,” Dravid had said.

If Tambe was all about experience reaping benefits, this Rajasthan outfit sprung yet another surprise in the form of Rahul Shukla, all of 23. They seem to be unearthing bowling talent at the drop of a hat, with age being a mere number.

The story of the Royals has been an inspiring one. The winners of the inaugural IPL not only won matches but also captured a million hearts with their performance. They have been the bowling sensation of this tournament. But like always, Dravid remains the humble being he has always been. “It’s been a roller coaster ride for Royals. I couldn’t have asked for anything more, a great journey,” he adds, just before he gets ready to take field for one last time.

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