Jaipur: Elated after beating IPL winners Mumbai Indians in their opening Champions League Twenty20 match, Rajasthan Royals skipper Rahul Dravid said in-form youngsters such as Sanju Samson and Ajinkya Rahane are more than making up for the lack of big stars in the team.
Talking to reporters after the seven-wicket victory over Mumbai on Saturday, Dravid said it was a fine all-round effort by his spirited team.
"It was superb bowling, specially by Vikramjeet Malik, we rotated our bowlers and really did well to restrict Mumbai to 142 but it was also not going to be easy to get those and we needed to bat well against a very professional side and get the job done," said Dravid.
"After my wicket, Sanju and Rahane were associated in a very mature partnership. They were up against four international bowlers but there was no panic and it was controlled and solid batting which helped consolidate and then Shane Watson and Stuart Binny finished off the job in style," he added.
Dravid praised Samson, who struck a 47-ball 54. "Sanju is learning and growing fast as a good batsman. Not all the kids get a chance to face international bowlers like (Mitchell) Johnson. He has taken his chances to flourish. It is good for Indian cricket as well," said Dravid.
"We recognise, we don't have as many big stars as other teams and want performance from all our players. I provide freedom to all team members to express themselves and don't blame them. It is about culture and environment and the freedom to express which helps to perform as a team. It is not easy under pressure, sometime it works and sometime it doesn't," he added.
Talking about the team's bowling strategy, Dravid said, "It was not under any strategy that I shuffled our bowlers quickly but that has been our brand of cricket. It was an instinct or spur of moment. We try and surprise the opponents.
"The wicket was under covers for quite some time and any way we like to chase and that is why we chose to field first. It is terrific start and we want to keep that going," added the skipper.