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After the Royal welcome, Challengers ready to conquer

After the Royal welcome, Challengers ready to conquer

By Vikram Afzulpurkar

After the crushing defeat of Kochi, the Royal Challengers headed to Jaipur by a late morning flight. They had to scramble only a bit, but with 12 hours notice, to advance their time by an hour. Of course an hour can be a valuably long time especially when you’ve played a match the previous day. Thankfully, this match had been a 4 pm starter finishing at 7:30 and allowed the players to recover faster.

The advancing of the time was because a stroke of luck had allowed them to catch a diverted flight heading straight to Jaipur instead of a changeover at Delhi. At Jaipur, the team experienced the thrills of a heritage hotel. These are quite different from the towers one gets to see in metros. But of course, one has to give credit to the Rajasthani people for maintaining them.

By Vikram Afzulpurkar

After the crushing defeat of Kochi, the Royal Challengers headed to Jaipur by a late morning flight. They had to scramble only a bit, but with 12 hours notice, to advance their time by an hour. Of course an hour can be a valuably long time especially when you’ve played a match the previous day. Thankfully, this match had been a 4 pm starter finishing at 7:30 and allowed the players to recover faster.

The advancing of the time was because a stroke of luck had allowed them to catch a diverted flight heading straight to Jaipur instead of a changeover at Delhi. At Jaipur, the team experienced the thrills of a heritage hotel. These are quite different from the towers one gets to see in metros. But of course, one has to give credit to the Rajasthani people for maintaining them.

The expanse of the gardens took away one’s breath, leave alone the many corridors of the palace. After a good rest in the afternoon and a workout in the gym, the ‘boys’ rested for the night. The next morning, 9th May, brought with it a visit by some players to the Ajmer Dargah of Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chisti. Another group went for an elephant ride and optimized whatever was left of it to enjoy the Ambar Palace. At either place, Luke Pommersbach was the first to experience the thrills, firstly to touch the elephant. However, he was careful to do it under the mahout’s supervision.

Then after a look around the Ambar Palace where the kings ruled, the players and their friends took a particular interest in knowing about what the meeting halls were for and the matters discussed. It surprised some of them to know about the harems the rulers maintained. By far the most breathtaking moment until then was when the saw the enormous view and vantage point the fort gave its occupants. The wall protecting it was like the Great Wall of China.

Then came another round of playing with nature, this time a snake charmer’s king cobra that again Luke took the initiative to get close to. Of course, its fangs had been removed but it took considerable daring for the Australian to plan a kiss on the back of its head. Soon, everybody in the entourage wanted to do that. Should Pommersbach open the batting?!

Again, Pommersbach was the first to blow the snake charmer’s pipe and everybody else followed suit. This was debatably the most enthralling moment side by side with the view from the fortress.

The practice facilities at the Sawai Man Singh stadium in Jaipur are laudable, with the connected ground hosting nets. Here, the back of the net was spaced to allow the wicket keeper to stand back a considerable distance, at least to medium pacers.

On another side of the practice ground were wheeler nets, a wonderful innovation that meant you could split the readymade tram-like net and cover the area close to the bowler also. This, apart from a top cover that ensures a lot of lofted shots don’t scatter all around to fetch. Sure, you can’t see your shots travel too far but then it’s a faster process to retrieve the balls from these nets.

The night brought with it a Meet and Greet function hosted for business intermediaries of United Spirits Limited. Here, like in other cities, these invitees get a chance to be photographed with the cricketers.

Siddhartha Mallya, Ray, and Dan seemed to set aside a separate space in the breakfast hall to deliberate on team selection. Well, they like to maintain some element of surprise. The pitch in Jaipur is low and slow and aids spinners. Shane Warne is the chief tormentor however Vettori’s men, on a high, will aim to conquer this frontier also.

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Latest comments

Battle is half done.. Now it becomes harder....
bobby007 on 13 Sep 2011, 05:30 AM
all the best for RCB if they win today then they will be top....
bobby007 on 13 Sep 2011, 05:30 AM
all the best for RCB if they win today then they will be top....
RakeshRCB on 22 May 2011, 11:48 PM
~ Go rcb go ~
San14 on 18 May 2011, 03:05 AM
we will conquer this IPL4
Avakash on 17 May 2011, 07:27 PM
To test the bench strenght we have to be in good position like 1 or 2 slot if we are sure that we will be in first second slot we can bench strengh till then no chances to be taken
shashi-kumar2 on 14 May 2011, 07:45 PM
it's the right time to test our bench strength i guess
Batty on 14 May 2011, 06:38 PM
Really this team has the potential to win the IPL trophy this year...
abdul-razak on 14 May 2011, 06:38 AM
he simply rocks and team rocks
mitu123 on 13 May 2011, 08:35 PM
All the best team. You simply rock.
shriram-jagadeesan on 13 May 2011, 05:42 PM
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