Rajasthan Royals worried only about Tanvir’s availability

Defending champion Rajasthan Royals on Thursday said it would miss Sohail Tanvir in case the Pakistani cricketers are restricted from participating in the second edition of the Indian Premier League this year.

The escalating tensions between the two countries and India’s subsequent pull out from the tour of Pakistan following the Mumbai terror attacks have raised serious doubts over the Pakistani cricketers’ availability in the Twenty10 extravaganza starting April 10.

Rajasthan Royals have three Pakistani players – Younis Khan, wicket-keeper batsman Kamran Akmal and inaugural edition’s highest wicket-taker Tanvir, in their ranks but Chief Operating Officer of Emerging Media, owners of the side, Manoj Badale had no hesitation in admitting that more than anybody else, the side would miss Tanvir.

“I can worry about only those things which I can control. As of now we hope they will be here,” Badale said.

“In any case, Younis Khan was more of a backup player and Akmal too played only in few matches but Tanvir’s absence might hurt us. But other teams will also be hurt badly,” Badale told reporters.

He said though he was more than satisfied with the players’ performance last year, some new cricketers might be added to the Shane Warne-led squad.

“We already had a trial in October last year and the second phase will be held around mid-February most probably in Jaipur.

“The window for foreign players opens on February 6. We have three-year contracts with most of the players but a few more will be added. We have already short listed a few,” he said.

Looking back at last year’s event, Badale said, “The first edition had high quality of cricket and was fantastic. It threw up new faces and even players like Yousuf Pathan, Shane Watson showcased their talent and were picked for their national team.

“It proved to be very positive and it will grow stronger. As far as the competition is concerned it will be twice as hard as last year and predicting a winner would be three times more than last year.”

He said the Royals will hold a camp from April 1 at the Rajasthan Cricket Academy here ahead of the tournament.

“The Rajasthan Royals will have a camp from April 1 at the Rajasthan Cricket Academy. We will face a tough challenge from other teams. Last time we were the underdogs but now we would be under pressure as the favourites,” he said.

Regarding the team’s differences with its sponsor Bajaj Alliance, he said the matter was in the court.

“There were some differences but I hope it will be resolved,” he said adding the players had already been paid bonus for winning the inaugural championship.

Asked about the public issue of the team, Badale said it was on the anvil but the recent economic meltdown has slowed down the process.

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