'Sachin is a great player but the match is more important'
The Champions League Twenty20 will be Sachin Tendulkar's swansong as a Mumbai Indians player, but Rajasthan Royals captain Rahul Dravid feels it still doesn't make their opening clash on September 21 any special.
"Yes, Sachin is a great player and we have played against each other and also as team mates; but I feel that there is nothing important in this match. It would be a challenge for us, but it should be seen as a match between Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians only," Dravid told reporters.
"I wish we come face to face in semi-finals too in this tournament," added Dravid, at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium.
Asked if this CLT20 could also be his last, he said he hasn't yet taken a call on that.
"Speaking about the emotions for this being my last T20 tournament, I have still not decided about the next year. I wish to concentrate on this tournament only,
"The performance and the spirit would be decisive and if we are able to play to our potential than we would be in contention. Every tournament is important whether it is first or last," he said.
Image: Rahul Dravid
Bigger role for Menaria
Dravid praised local hero Ashok Menaria and expressed hope of him being given a bigger role.
"I am happy about the left-hander. He had a lean last season but has come back strongly with fine performances in the Emerging Trophy and also for India 'A'.
"I hope to get him bowl a few overs and also more opportunities to bat. But it all would depend upon the team strategy. First, he would have fit into the team's plans," said the captain.
Talking about the inclusion of up-and-coming left-arm spinner Harmeet Singh, who was acquitted in the spot-fixing case, Dravid said the team will decide on that in a day or two.
"We are pondering over the replacement for Siddharth Trivedi, who has been banned for a year. Harmeet was called a couple of days back and has been practising with us, but we still have to decide whether to include him or not. Moreover, it would be the decision of the management," he added.
Image: Ashok Menaria
Photographs: Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images
'We wish to maintain the same spirit'
Dravid ducked a question related to the effects of pacer Shantakumaran Sreesanth and few others being found guilty of spot-fixing in the Board of Control for Cricket in India's inquiry.
"It is up to the investigating agencies who know the facts better than us. We don't have the information that they do. We would all support the agencies; we have played good cricket without them earlier also and we wish to maintain the same spirit," he said.
Image: Rajasthan Royals team
'Youngsters have been brilliant'
Team coach Paddy Upton was all praise for the youngsters in the side.
"We have tried to encourage and give confidence to the up-and-coming and lesser-known cricketers by making them feel that they too were an important part of the team. This also helped us jell together.
"We are fortunate that the up-and-coming players like Sanju Samson and Dishant Yagnik, and also P Tambe who was not so prominent, have done so well. It would important for us to keep the team in better shape because we have limited players now after the ban on few of our squad players," said the coach.
Image: Sanju Samson