Kohli optimistic of RCB's chances

In the 10 years I've been, this is the most balanced side, says skipper

Kohli optimistic of RCB's chances

The Royal Challengers Bangalore have boasted of having a star-studded batting line-up in almost every edition of the Indian Premier League. While their exploits have often had the fans go ga-ga, relatively weaker bowling units have resulted in the team struggling to lift the trophy in ten tries.

Giving extra focus at this year's auction to plug that loophole, RCB picked up some good bowlers, giving them a very balanced look. Be it the top-order, middle-order, spin bowling or pace, RCB have talented personnel who can get the job done. Skipper Virat Kohli, looking fresh following a much-deserved break, sounded confident of a good show in the eleventh edition.

"We are optimistic about the season. It's a very very balanced side. In the 10 years that I've been here, I don't think we've ever had such a balance. We had initially but everyone firing together is also a massive factor," Kohli told reporters.

"This year we are not relying only on batting, we've got bowling options too. That gives us plenty of positivity heading into the IPL. Something we know is that if we execute our plans well enough, we have cricketers who are experienced and know how to get the job done in the middle. We have faith in all the boys that are in the squad. We understand they have the intelligence level to execute the skills at the required time."

Kohli said the break has refreshed him both mentally and physically. "Well, I required it," said the Indian skipper. "Physically I was up with a few niggles. I pretty much went to the tour of South Africa with full intensity. Towards the end, the body obviously took a bit of beating. I understood that I need to completely take time off from the game. Three weeks without even looking at my kit bag or bats was a weird feeling!

"(However), at the back of your mind, you are never out of the game. I was keeping a check on all the scores happening around the world, especially with India playing as well. That kept me involved in some way. Physically I wanted to take a complete break. I'm feeling strong and I've been training non-stop for the last 12 days. I feel I'm getting close to my peak condition. I'm definitely at 100 percent now, 110 is what I prefer and that 10 will take a little more time."

One of the major additions to the RCB coaching set-up is the appointment of Gary Kirsten as the mentor and batting coach. Kohli felt the youngsters can learn plenty from the South African great. "I was personally in favour of getting Gary on board. I thought it's a great opportunity for the younger guys to spend time with Gary because I benefitted massively from his inputs in the early stages of my career and that certainly made me a better cricketer in those tough times.

"In terms of the batting group operating, I think he's the ideal man to supervise things. He can keep the batting group together which I saw him do at the international level with the Indian cricket team. Having so many big names in the team and how he got everyone together and the team spirit going, I think that was an outstanding factor as far as I saw it. Having Gary on board is definitely an advantage."

RCB have always enjoyed a strong and passionate fan base despite the team alternating from the brilliant to the ordinary. In a bid to repay their love, the management has decided to retire jersey No 12 on their behalf. "Naming it as the 12th man in relation to the fans, it's a tribute to the amazing fan base we've had for the last 12 years," said Kohli.

 

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