Cricket

In It For A Minute: Shreyas Gopal answers six questions about the season

© Sajal Kapoor | Rajasthan Royals
We catch up with the Rajasthan Royals bowler to ask him about his personal experiences while playing in UAE.
Written by Steve D'Souza and Sean SequeiraPublished on
Rajasthan Royals made a statement of intent by winning their first two matches of the tournament.
These saw them defend a 217 target set for Chennai in their opening match and then they set a record for the league’s highest successful run chase against Punjab. Both of these matches were played at Sharjah, and were followed by visits to Dubai and Abu Dhabi where results were not as favourable.
We asked leg break bowler Shreyas Gopal a few questions about the matches and how he sees the rest of the tournament playing out.

With Rajasthan Royals playing their next few matches on spin-friendly tracks, have you set yourself a higher target in wickets?

Well honestly, I haven’t thought about setting a target in wickets as such. I just want to go out there and bowl in good areas because I know that the batsmen have to go at me at some point of time. So I think sometimes a defensive approach is good but at the same time I will think about taking wickets and will try to sneak in being aggressive whenever possible.

What was the biggest challenge for you with bowling on Sharjah’s high-scoring wickets?

Considering the ground size in Sharjah is a little smaller than the other two grounds, it’s a really good wicket to bat on. So my margin of error while bowling was very low. I had to be as close to the wicket as possible and I had to pull my length behind a little. So that kind of accuracy with the dew factor was a little challenging.

What were the celebrations like after Rajasthan Royals’ league record run chase?

Everyone was really ecstatic after the league record run chase. We were jumping in the dressing room. I’m sure there is a lot of video footage of that around. It was great fun. Last year we had a few moments going against us and this year we are trying to create them for us. So lining up on the winning side for Rajasthan Royals feels really special.

What have you liked to do in your downtime between the matches in UAE?

My downtime between matches is just spending time in the team room, drinking a few coffees, playing some pool and table tennis with my teammates. In the evenings we do get to go to the beach, and we catch up over team dinners also. So it has been really good. I don’t go to the beach during the day because it is too hot for me.

Who could be Rajasthan Royals’ secret weapon during this season that most teams don’t know about?

I think our secret weapon is our depth in batting. If anyone has seen our games this season, they will see that we have batted really deep. The middle order and the lower half have finished the games really well for us. I can’t name a player specifically but I am personally very amazed by the way Jofra Archer hits the ball.

Name a player from another team you are most looking forward to facing, and why.

I’m really looking forward to bowling to Virat Kohli and Ab de Villiers. They are legendary cricketers, some of the best the world has ever seen. So it is always a privilege and honour to play against them.