IPL 2018: Manan Vohra aiming to secure India call-up with strong season for RCB
After his knock of 43 off 26 deliveries in his debut game of the Indian Premier League for Kings XI Punjab in 2013, Manan Vohra was touted to be a player to watch out for in the upcoming seasons. Subsequently, the then 20-year-old was retained by KXIP for the 2014 edition, a week after he had smashed a record-breaking 187 against Jharkhand in the Ranji Trophy.
Fast forward three years and the 2017 edition of the tournament saw Vohra set the stage on fire and play some riveting knocks for the Punjab-based franchise (his 95 off 50 balls springs to the mind immediately). His potential was on display and his impressive batting pedigree seemed to improve with every knock.
In the IPL 2018 auction, he was picked up by the Royal Challengers Bangalore for a hefty sum of Rs. 1.10 crore after an intense tussle between them and the Delhi Daredevils.
"I didn't have a particular franchise in mind, was just hoping to be picked by any of them. The auction was going all crazy before my name came up, so I just kept a positive mindset," he told Sportskeeda in an exclusive interview while describing his mindset before the big auction.
He was on the radar of every franchise in the league after his exploits in his first couple of seasons, it seemed like he was not able to rise to the next level for a long time. Inconsistency seeped into his game and a couple of soft dismissals proved to be problematic for the man from Chandigarh.
He has worked on that side of his game, though, and hopes to come out as an improved cricketer in the upcoming edition of the IPL.
"As far as my batting is concerned, I'm working on my shot-selection which I think has been a concern for a couple of years now," he added.
Another aspect that the opener has put particular emphasis on is fitness, an important criterion for any international athlete today. Even one slip-up can prove costly and end up causing serious damage to the playing career of a cricketer.
"I have been working more on my fitness as it is very important to last a T20 season. You got to be fit to provide the team everything they need with the bat and in the field as fielding is of paramount importance in the shortest format," he said
With Virat Kohli 's tendency to play at the top of the order in this league and with players like Brendon Mccullum, Quinton de Kock and Parthiv Patel being added to the RCB ranks this year, the opening slot will not be up for grabs for Vohra. There will be a healthy competition for the same and he will need to work hard to cement his place in the playing XI.
When asked about the same, he stated, "I'm trying to stay positive because if there is a lot of competition in the team itself, that brings the best out of you. We'll have some practice games during the camp, so it will be a good opportunity for me to perform and build my confidence for the season."
A team like RCB is a goldmine for any up-and-coming cricketer of the world. Not only does it boast of a strong and reliable support staff, but also has many incredible superstars in its midst.
"The team has a lot of legendary international players, so I'm looking forward to learning from them and be consistent in the format. Their work ethics, how they prepare themselves for the game, (I will be following everything closely)," said the Punjab batsman with optimism and excitement ringing in his voice.
The 24-year-old was included in the India under-19 squad that played the Quadrangular Series against Sri Lanka, West Indies, and Australia back in 2011. However, he has not been able to crack it to the senior team yet. He will play under the leadership of the Indian skipper this season and that will definitely go a long way into developing the youngster's game.
"I'm trying not to look as far, obviously my ultimate aim is to make it to the Indian team. For the time being, yes, I have gathered a lot of experience from the IPL and now I think this is the right place where I can bring all my experience to the fore and be consistent. I would just like to give my best for the team," Vohra added.
The right-hander will look to secure one of the top three slots in the RCB batting line-up. The franchise has always boasted of incredible batting prodigies in its ranks, and it will be no different in the upcoming season.
Talking about the legends that will follow him down the batting order, Vohra said, "Obviously, there is a cushion when you know you have game changers like ABD and Virat following you, that would allow me to play freely. If I get an opportunity, I'd try and play my natural game and hopefully, things will go well."
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