2 MINUTES WITH... MANOJ CHERUPARAMBIL

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 July, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 11 July, 2004, 12:00am

MANOJ CHERUPARAMBIL


Hong Kong's dashing opening batsman is gearing up to the challenge of playing against Test nations Pakistan and Bangladesh at the Asia Cup beginning on Friday in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He is 24.


Any sleepless nights as yet?


Yes (laughing). The anticipation of playing against some of the world's best bowlers is keeping me awake. It will be my biggest challenge yet and I just can't wait for it to start.


How are you preparing to face bowlers like Pakistan's Shoaib Akhtar (the world's fastest bowler)?


I have been batting against our fast bowlers who are bowling from 18 to 20 yards, past the popping crease. There is less time to react and it's like facing Shoaib Akhtar.


You went to Chennai recently and trained against spinners. What did you learn?


That was a huge experience. I batted for about five hours every day and played against a wide range of spinners. I learned how to use my feet and how to read different types of spin. This has definitely helped my batting.


What went wrong at the ACC Trophy in Kuala Lumpur last month?


Our batting was extremely disappointing. It was not so much that we lost, but the way we lost. It was a below-par performance from Hong Kong.


You scored a half-century and managed to get a start in another match. But you failed to capitalise. Why?


Basically my concentration let me down and my shot selection was poor. In Hong Kong, when we bat in the nets, we only have 10 to 15 minutes and you are trying to middle every ball. But in match conditions, you have to learn to pick the right ball to hit. I tried to play a shot a ball.


What's your aim at the Asia Cup?


It's a matter of surviving 20 overs. If I do that, the runs will come.


And your long-term goal is?


I want to cement my position in the side and to start converting my starts into big scores.


Who do you admire most and why?


Indian batsman Rahul Dravid for his ability to concentrate and his discipline.