Having vindicated the team management’s decision to promote him to the No. 3 spot, Sunrisers Hyderabad’s young batsman Lokesh Rahul said he was pleased to have played the sheet anchor’s role in his side’s win against Mumbai Indians in the IPL-7 here.
Rahul played his part, scoring 46 off 40 balls and putting on a 111-run partnership with David Warner (65) for the third wicket on Wednesday night.
“The team management showed a lot of faith in me by promoting me up the order. They told me on Tuesday that they were planning to send me one-down, although I felt that I have been scoring at a run-a-ball and it is not enough in the T20 format and so I will be pushed further down the line-up. But the coach told me it is okay for me to play my game and take my time,” Lokesh said.
“He said batting at No. 3 my role would be to rotate the strike and help the team lay a solid foundation so that people like Warner and Sammy can build on it. I am glad I could do that today.
“In the last couple of games, I got 20s and 30s and threw my wicket away, which wasn’t helping the team. I was sent higher up the order so that I have more time to pace my innings,” the 22-year-old was quoted as saying by IPL’s official website.
He said it was thrilling to watch from the other end Warner bat.
“It’s thrilling! I would sit at home and watch the Ashes, I watched the Australia-South Africa series where he demolished the Proteas. I hoped some day I could bat like him and today I got a chance to build this partnership with him in a very crucial game.
“For a youngster like me there’s so much to learn. In the training, it’s different. It’s in a real match, you get to learn how players like him plan their game, target the bowlers and what runs in their mind.”
In awe of Warner
Rahul was in awe of the way the left-handed Warner took on Lasith Malinga while batting right-handed.
“I think he batted better than I did right-handed. I was struggling to get Malinga away and there he goes, takes him on batting right-handed and smashes him over what could be a third-man for a right-hander.
“We’ve seen him bat right-handed in the nets and he really puts in a lot of work in that aspect. He doesn’t just play right-handed but smashes the ball hard. To generate that kind of power with your wrong hand is simply amazing!
Asked what he would like to take from batsmen like his captain Shikhar Dhawan, Aaron Finch and Warner, he said, “With Shikhar it’s about how calm he keeps himself in any situation. Also, the cut and the shots he plays over point and cover are wonderful.
“Finchy is someone who can hit the ball very hard. I haven’t seen many people hit the ball as hard as he does. He has a great balance at the crease, has a strong base and then launches himself. That is something that I would like to pick up from Finchy.
“As far as Warner goes, I’d love to be able to bat left-handed and smash the ball as hard as he does batting right-handed.”