Dravid is the ultimate pro and would be missed in IPL and Tests: Shastri

Rahul Dravid is still the ultimate pro and if he doesn’t play ever again in the IPL, he would be missed as much in the league as he would be for India in Tests, writes Ravi Shastri in his column in The Times Of India.

“He has batted with aplomb and appeared animated in the field as skipper. Rajasthan have always been led by inspirational figures and Dravid hasn’t suffered in comparison to Shane Warne. Sunday could be the day when they can upset the apple cart. It will be tight, but don’t put it beyond them,” adds Shastri.

Meanwhile keen to consolidate their chances of making the playoffs, Rajasthan Royals will be eyeing nothing less than a victory when they take on a lowly Deccan Chargers in their Indian Premier League match here tomorrow, says a report in the Indian Express.

“With 14 points from equal number of games (with seven wins and as many losses), Rajasthan Royals still have an outside chance of making the playoff stage if they can record big wins in their remaining two matches against the Chargers tomorrow and Mumbai Indians on Sunday. With improved performance during their match against Pune, the Royals are expected to go all out against the Deccan Chargers to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Royals have played good cricket against fancied rivals but have been guilty of frittering away opportunities,” says the Indian Express report.

According to a report in The Hindu, if batting prowess has emerged as the Deccan Chargers strength, besides being the lone redeeming feature, Kings XI Punjab are no peasants on that front either. “The sheer consistency of Ajinkya Rahane is but the strongest strand in its batting, rippling with muscle, enough to overhaul rival totals, however huge they may turn out to be. So assured was the northern team that it chose to skip its practice session on the contest's eve, while the home side took to the field after the floodlights came on, the soaring heat preventing them from venturing out into the open. The local squad had a long training session on Wednesday too,” says the report.
Chargers' coach Darren Lehmann admitted there was little left in the fight except maybe spoil the chances of other teams or return the favour for the thrashing his side got at Jaipur.
“We haven't fielded or bowled as well as we have batted. Finishing the games has been the problem with even senior guys faltering on that front,” he said.

Meanwhile, returning after a lengthy lay-off, Kings XI Punjab skipper Adam Gilchrist produced a vintage performance to guide his side to a six-wicket upset win over defending champions Chennai Super Kings. A result that keeps alive their chances of advancing to the playoffs, while simultaneously leaving CSK waiting on the other teams.

Returning to the team after a spell on the sidelines due to a hamstring injury, Gilchrist snapped up four catches and followed that up with an unbeaten 64 that came off just 46 balls, says a report in HT.