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Shane Warne and Rahul Dravid are a study in contrast. One is known for his flamboyant lifestyle, outspoken ways and a devil-may-care attitude; the other is disciplined, soft-spoken and a perfect role model.
For Rajasthan Royals, the most important story of IPL V could well be the transition from Warne's leadership to Dravid's captaincy . In fact, for a few youngsters who have known only Warne's ways in the past four years, this could well be a culture shock.
Rajasthan Royals, once again, do not boast of too many big guns, at least in the T20 format . However, they have the habit of throwing up heroes. If Yusuf Pathan, Ravinder Jadeja and Shane Watson owe most of their fame to the Royals jersey in the inaugural edition of the IPL, Johan Botha's prowess with the bat was a revelation last year. Warne had gone by his instincts in promoting Botha up the order, and it paid off handsomely.
As Dravid steps into the Australian spin legend's shoes, he would be aware that he is inheriting an enviable legacy. For starters, Dravid would have to pick his men carefully and not go by reputation or past record. He has coach Monty Desai and technical director Zubin Bharucha to help him out, two men who have little to show apart from their IPL stint under Warne's shadow.
Talking about the players, the addition of Sreesanth in the ranks will boost the bowling, but then the pacer has been recuperating from a toe injury. He says he is fit for action, but then he hasn't played for the past six months. Expect him to be rusty. Also expect him to pull in the crowds with his maverick ways. Sreesanth could well keep Royals in the news, just like Warne did.
At the other end, Shaun Tait would be hurling down some fireballs.
Dravid and Botha would once again be expected to hold the batting steady. Dravid, of course, faces the biggest test. He would be hoping to do a Warne and lead this team to the podium. Or atleast finish in the top-four.
Indian angle: Rahul Dravid (captain), S Sreesanth, Ajinkya Rahane, Stuart Binny, Ashok Menaria, Faiz Fazal, Siddharth Trivedi, Abhishek Raut, Pankaj Singh, Amit Singh, Amit Paunikar, Ankeet Chavan, Aditya Dole, Deepak Chahar, Dishant Yagnik, Samad Fallah, Gajendra Singh, Shreevats Goswami, Ajith Chandela
Forgien Players: Shane Watson, Shaun Tait, Paul Collingwood, Johan Botha, Brad Hodge, Brad Hogg, Dinesh Chandimal, Kevon Cooper, Owais Shah
Batting is Royals' strong point, with the likes of Shane Watson, Rahul Dravid, Ashok Menaria, Dinesh Chandimal and Ajinkya Rahane in the lineup. They lacked a strong pace partner for Shaun Tait in the last edition, a void which has been filled up with S Sreesanth.
In the absence of Shane Warne, Royals would be struggling in the spin department although Brad Hogg's inclusion may help. Tait and Sreesanth can both be inconsistent and that might be a problem. Besides, most of their batsmen are more at ease in the longer format.
Content courtsey: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com