Rajasthan Royals skipper Steve Smith provided an update regarding the participation of Ben Stokes in IPL 2020 as the England all-rounder ends his quarantine on Saturday.
After suffering a heavy loss against Delhi Capitals, Rajasthan takes on Sunrisers Hyderabad in its next game on Sunday night and the team will depend heavily on Stokes for turning its fortunes around.
“Stokes hasn’t had a lot of practice, he gets out of quarantine tomorrow, so we’ll see if he plays the day after tomorrow,” Smith said.
Rajasthan fell apart in chase of 185 as it lost to Delhi by 46 runs and skipper Smith said his team is unable to execute in pressure situations.
“We are not playing good enough over the 40 overs, and not executing when the pressure is coming on and you can’t win many games that way. The bowlers did a good job, and I don’t think the wicket was as good as it has been here, a bit stoppy tonight, and we gave away 10-15 extra runs,” he said.
“We have to remain positive, turn things around quickly. At the moment it doesn’t seem to be going our way. I’m not batting too well either. I did feel good tonight with the bat but didn’t get hold of one that I feel like I should have,” Smith added.
Winning captain Shreyas Iyer heaped praise on his bowlers for defending an ‘under par score.’
“I’m really happy with the way we came out in the second innings. We thought it was an under par score but it was stopping on the wicket and the bowlers executed their plans really well. We were also going to bowl first with the dew factor, but thankfully it went in our favour. I am enjoying captaincy because the players make it really easy, especially the bowlers,” Iyer said.
The skipper, however, cautioned against complacency and said the team needs to continue with the winning momentum.
“Even the way the support staff is managing the team meetings is commendable. I think the mixture in our team is really good and we have worked really hard on this. The boys have shared their thoughts pre-tour and their strengths and weaknesses. I am happy with how we are progressing and hoping to maintain the momentum. We can’t take anything lightly and need to come with our plans, execute them well,” Iyer said.
Senior spinner Ravichandran Ashwin bowled a match-winning spell of 2/22 and was awarded the Player of the Match.
“One of the important thing in this bowling attack is that most bowlers can bowl at any moment. It is sort of a role where you can put your hand up and be brave about it. Credit goes to the backroom staff. I am in a very good space mentally and physically and it really shows. Really enjoying myself in both those spaces,” Ashwin said.
Ashwin, who recovered from a shoulder injury said that he is doing fine but is being cautious.
“In a lot of positions my body is taking over psychologically. I just don’t want to land awkwardly and put weight on it. But it is important that I look after myself and not stretch it,” he said.