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IPL: McDonald wants to turn Rajasthan from underdogs to champions

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New Delhi, Dec 2: Former Australia all-rounder Andrew Barry McDonald, who has been appointed as the head coach of Rajasthan Royals, is hoping that the franchise makes improvements by leaps and bounds under him and remove the tag of underdogs to one of champions in the upcoming editions of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Rajasthan Royals had won in the inaugural IPL season in 2008 under legendary Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne. However, after that, the Rajasthan-based franchise hasn't been able to perform as per expectations. In fact, in the 9 seasons they have participated after their title win in 2008, Rajasthan have been able to make it to the play-offs only three times.  

In the last edition, Rajasthan finished at the seventh spot after registering five wins and ending with 11 points at the end of the league stage. 

Speaking to IANS, McDonald – who has been appointed for the next three years – stressed that his one and only aim will be to make improvement in all the departments and make it sustainable. 

"I see this as an enjoyable opportunity. The common thing is that we are working to win matches for Rajasthan," McDonald said.

"Rajasthan have made it to the final four 4 times out of the 10 seasons they have played. Our challenge is to improve and make that improvement sustainable over a period of time. 

"I am looking forward to improving the team so that we go from underdogs to title favourites leading into the tournament," he added. 

The franchise boasts of having the likes of Steve Smith, Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer in their ranks. Still, their performance has been below par. 

McDonald, 38, however believes there are multiple reasons for their under performance. "I think there are multiple reasons why teams don't succeed, don't potentially make it to the final four. One of them is that a lot of the opposition teams are very strong. It's a very competitive competition and it's tough to make it to the final four." 

McDonald has been a part of the IPL in the past having played for the Delhi Daredevils in the 2009 edition before being signed up by the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in 2012-2013. He was also the bowling coach of RCB.

Being a part of an IPL franchise before, the Australian — who played four Tests for Australia – believes it gives him an advantage. 

"There are going to be highs and lows throughout the course of the seasons. I call the T20 format a rollercoaster, it goes up and down," said McDonald. 

"And so by playing in the IPL, it does give me the understanding of what all the players are going through," he added. 

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