Dubai (UAE): Royals Sports Group-owned IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals will be resuming their IPL 2021 campaign in the UAE when they take on Punjab Kings in about a fortnight’s time, and there is one Royals’ star who has great memories associated with the opponents, having infamously smashed five sixes in one over to take his team over the line during IPL 2020.
The 28-year-old is relishing the opportunity of having another go in the UAE. He said, “I am really looking forward to it, however not just that match, but all the seven matches. I like to play all my matches with the same intensity and intent, but of course there are good memories facing PBKS, so it feels special.”
“It also gives me great belief and confidence that I can produce similar performances and do something extraordinary whatever the situation may be. My intent will always be to make the team win from anywhere,” expressed the all-rounder who has 452 runs and 26 wickets in 41 IPL matches.
Reflecting on his own and the team’s performance in the first phase of the IPL season, Tewatia said, “I know my performances weren’t up to the mark with regards to the high expectations I keep of myself both when it comes to batting and bowling. However, I will put in the effort to improve the output in the next seven matches that we’re scheduled to play in the UAE.”
“My aim is to contribute to the team’s performance and excel in the role of a lower-middle order batsman and a finisher when it comes to batting. When it comes to the team’s overall performance, we won three out of the seven matches, and there were a couple of matches which were really close, so I think all-in-all, we put in some great performances and there is lot more to come from the team in the UAE,” he added.
Having spent most part of the off-season at his home in Faridabad, Tewatia said he’s managed to fine-tune some focus areas. “Bowling-wise, there were a few areas we had identified during the season where I could improve. Sometimes you don’t realize it when you’re constantly playing, but things like your wrist position can become inexact. So I had the chance to really work on it and bowl with a set rhythm,” the right arm leg-spinner said.
“In terms of batting, I want to maintain my natural game and don’t really want to be making a lot of changes. I want to maintain my process and keep doing the things which have produced results for me and just back my strengths,” he stated.
Tewatia also added that him and his teammates have maintained their fitness levels ahead of the IPL. “I had the chance to train under the guidance of our Strength and Conditioning Coach AT Rajamani Prabhu, and focused on my strength, speed and agility, which are crucial. I kept following the schedules at home as well, and I think if you see, the whole team has maintained fitness and I’m confident it’ll reflect on the field as well.”
Sharing his insights on the conditions in the gulf nation, Tewatia said that he’s “familiar with the conditions.” He stated, “I think the grounds in Abu Dhabi and Dubai are slightly bigger so that works for the spinners. The wickets were playing well (last year), and when you have bigger grounds, as a bowler it gives you more confidence. However, Sharjah is obviously a smaller ground with a high-scoring wicket, so whoever scores more will have a better chance (laughs). The main thing really is to focus and execute your plans regardless of the size of the ground.”
Last season, a stellar IPL season helped Rahul get named in the Indian team set-up, and he’s looking forward to performing well again. “IPL is obviously a huge opportunity for all the players, and it’s no different for me. But honestly, these opportunities are not just limited to the IPL. I think all the domestic matches are equally important and my mindset is that they’re all very crucial for me and my growth as a player. You never know which match can change the course of your career, and for that same reason, I take each match as the biggest ever of my career,” signed off Tewatia.