It's not usual for a 33-year-old to feel nervous, but I did have a few butterflies when I went out to make my IPL debut, against Kolkata Knight Riders on Monday. It was spectacular to walk into a ground with thousands of Indian fans cheering for you. I am glad I made a contribution by keeping one end up, but truth be told, David Warner won the game for us with a spectacular knock on a difficult track.
Scoring on the Kotla track was not easy but you would not have guessed if you were watching Warner. It was a slow track and the ball was gripping the surface but Warner played some amazing shots. The result was that we got off to an explosive start, so there was no real need to accelerate in the middle, and we decided to go for broke only in the last five overs.
It was wonderful to see Warner batting, not only for his range of shots, but also for the way he handled the loss of quick wickets at the other end. The fact that he could score on a slightly difficult surface shows that he has good technique besides being a big bitter of the ball.
It's important to play to your strengths and that's what we did yesterday. We got our bowling combination spot on, and were able to restrict Kolkata because of this. I am sure Daniel Vettori will also enjoy bowling on this surface.
We now look ahead to our game against the Rajasthan Royals. They are a very tricky side, and have gathered momentum after a poor start. Shane Warne would be looking forward to bowling on the Kotla pitch and we would have to plan our strategy accordingly. Rajasthan has a couple of individuals who can win a game for the side, and they have proved over the last two IPLs that they are a thinking side.
I have played Shane very often in my career, and there is no arguing with the fact that he is still a very dangerous bowler. He also has an aura around him that can get to the opposition, and we need to play him according to how he performs on the day instead of getting caught overawed by him.
It promises to be an exciting encounter, but if we plan and execute as well as we did against Kolkata, we should do well tomorrow. (Gameplan)