Jennings hopes for lady luck

Not always good sides endupwinning title, says Challengerscoach

Jennings hopes for lady luck

In his four-year association with the Royal Challengers Bangalore, Ray Jennings has helped the team reach the final of the Indian Premier League twice and the Champions League T20 once. The title, however, has remained elusive on all these three occasions.

A bit of luck, the RCB coach felt, could have done wonders for them. “I think it is not about being close (to the title), it is about playing good cricket,” noted the South African as he kick-started their preparations for the fifth edition of IPL with a set of Indian recruits here on Tuesday. “If I can set some goals, I want the side to be happy, I want the side to play good cricket on the day. And you all know in Twenty20 you need a bit of luck and in the last three years we have played good cricket and we are a happy team. I have achieved my goals and you know sometimes not always the good sides end up winning,” he said in a philosophical tone.

Given the fire-power at their disposal -- Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Tillakanarne Dilshan among others -- it’s indeed hard to stomach the fact that the Challengers lost both the finals (IPL 4 and CLT20) last year at the same venue. One is not sure if they picked up off-spinning wizard Muttiah Muralitharan keeping in mind the slow-nature of the Chennai surface -- set to host the final of the IPL V -- on which they came unstuck against Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians but Jenngings indicated as much.    

“He is a very knowledgeable guy, he has got that added experience and as an individual he can pass on that experience as well. And when you look at the skill level, if last year he was in our side along with Dan Vettori on those slow wickets (in the finals), we could have benefited,” he pointed out.

Jennings didn’t agree that playing skipper Vettori, the left-arm spinner, and Murali together would affect the balance of the side as they will occupy two of the four slots for foreign players in the playing 11. “No, not at all. Mayank (Agarwal) is older, (Saurabh) Tiwary is a lot fitter and if more Indians get in (to batting) then it frees up a position (in bowling). We have some options.”

While maintaining that he didn’t have much information on the agreement between Gayle and the West Indies Cricket Board (it presumably allows the batsman to be picked for the national side), the Protean hoped the latest development will not affect the Jamaican’s commitment to RCB.

“I know that he (Gayle) is already on his way (to Bangalore),” Jennings remarked. “I have not really spoken to him but I don’t think Gayle is focussing on that this moment. I think he realises that the IPL helped him, certainly helped him turn his cricket around.

“He was not picked in the auction but he got picked (by RCB) and now we know that he is number one in the world. The Indian public has started to adore him and he realises the importance of playing for RCB. For the next two months, his focus will be here and he will let his agent to work on the other details,” he observed.

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