Jennings relies on X-factor

RCB kick off Champions League preparations without big boys

Coach Ray Jennings shares his experience with Abhimanyu Mithun during a training session. DH Photo

The South African underscored his belief in them ahead of the third edition of the Champions League.

“We have got some X-factor going for us. We have got guys like Kohli, Mithun, Arvind, Mayank, and the X-factor coming out of them is beneficial for us, and for Indian cricket too. If you look at Mayank, he’s a fine talent – good hands, co-ordination and skills. If he gets his chances, he could be another Kohli coming through the system. Arvind is another guy with vast potential, someone who has the skills to play for India,” Jennings said on Saturday.

Some key players in the RCB set-up like skipper Daniel Vettori and West Indian Chris Gayle have been dormant for a while now, and will enter the tournament without significant practice behind them.

But others like Virat Kohli and Tillakaratne Dilshan have been on the circuit from the World Cup, raising concerns about their mental and physical readiness to go through a hectic few weeks.

Jennings agreed that both issues demanded careful treatment, involving helping players manage the possible effects of fatigue and retain their sharpness – physical as well as mental.

“A player like Kohli has been playing cricket for a while now. Dilshan is also playing cricket, but he’s amidst a Test match, and that’s a different format. So I hope these players to respond quickly to a different format.

“The real issue here is that Dilshan and Kohli are active since the World Cup. We need to address the mental fatigue factor. Unfortunately, international cricketers don’t get much time to refresh themselves, and it has to be a quick process. When you are fatigued, the desired amount of sharpness will not be there.”

Turning his focus on AB de Villiers and Gayle, Jennings said, “Guys like Gayle, AB, Vettori, yes, they don’t have much cricket behind them after the last IPL. But let’s look at a player like Gayle. His first nets after quite some time was with me at RCB during IPL IV. But he came and made an impact. The key is to strike a balance between fatigue and sharpness.”

The mention about Gayle pushed the chat towards the Jamaican’s exploits in IPL IV, and the consequences of his possible ordinary run in the CLT20.

“Gayle factor played a big role for us. But out of 120 balls, he took 60-70 balls, and that meant little chance for guys like Tiwari or Kohli. My job is to make sure someone is ready in the event of Gayle’s failure. Gayle took his opportunity well, even though it gave the impression that other guys like Kohli, AB or Dilshan have under-performed. I am sure we have a strong group, and we can translate Gayle factor into Royal Challengers factor.”

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