Ahmedabad: Former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar touched base on the ongoing IPL season and gave his prediction for the qualifier between Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore here at Narendra Modi Stadium on Friday and spoke about the upcoming T20 World Cup as well.
When asked why he predicted RCB would win the qualifier match, he said, “Things are falling in place for Bangalore, they have class bowlers, they performed well in the last match where Mohammed Shiraz took a crucial wicket”. Manjrekar added that Harshal Patel is the team’s trump card. Now that they have reached this point, they won’t give up.”
“Hardik Pandya surprised us at how comfortable he looked in a leadership role captaining Gujarat Titans.” He showed faith in Hardik Pandya’s ability to be the captain of the Indian Team in T20 and answered in a positive light. “If you are leading a team in the IPL, you can lead Team India,” he said.
Manjrekar said this because of the sheer pressure and high stakes a captain faces while leading a team in IPL.
While he was initially doubtful of two additional teams being added, he said, “This IPL will be remembered for only one reason – the quality. The lesser-known names maintained the quality of IPL and not the iconic big-name players.” He showed optimism towards the new players in the ongoing season, saying they defied the cliche of “big matches, big players.”
When asked about his stance on Kohli’s form and the questions being raised about him being in the T20 World Cup squad, Manjrekar staunchly disagreed. He said, “No, Kohli is definitely not droppable because there is a huge difference between IPL and World Cup.” He referred to the batsman’s performance in the famed match between India and Pakistan in the World Cup where Kohli scored a half-century. He further added, “For matches of this stature, you need people who have been there, done that. Therefore, despite Kohli’s form, he should be in the squad along with Rohit Sharma and other newer players.”
When asked about his take on KL Rahul’s performance, he said, “When KL Rahul plays as ‘one of the players’ his performance is much better than when he plays as the captain because he takes too much responsibility on himself, especially after he became captain.”
He further added, “KL Rahul has the ability to play at will. If he thinks that today he will play at a strike rate of 150, he can. But the reason he often slows down is that he has decided to play it safe.”