The last three seasons have been terrible for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, finishing rock bottom in 2019 and 2017 while managing a sixth-place finish last year. No matter what the management had tried, from roping in good players at the auctions to managerial changes, the performance graph just hasn't risen.
In another attempt towards resurrecting the sagging fortunes, the RCB board in August appointed former New Zealand coach Mike Hesson as the Director of Cricket Operations and Simon Katich as the head coach, axing Gary Kirsten (head coach) and Ashish Nehra (bowling coach) in the process.
Hesson and Katich spoke to the media in detail on Thursday where they admitted they have an arduous challenge in their hands but expressed confidence of turning things around despite not having the luxury of making large scale changes for the next season.
"There’s a lot of talent in this group but whether they complement each other, that’s only people within the set-up who can answer that," said Katich. "We’ll be trying to put a squad together, as Mike said before not only play the game but play for each other and try and help the team be successful. Sometimes that’s more than cricketing abilities, it’s about their character. That’s all the work we have to go through at the moment.
"A big part of (success) is identifying what style of players will bat well with each other or potentially bowl well in partnerships together in different phases of innings. That’s something we are working at the moment. When you talk about a team's style of play, you need guys with character who are prepared to put the team first over their own individual needs. Yes, there are a lot of players with talent but then do they play like winning teams. Are they contributing to be part of winning teams? These are the things we need to weigh up when making judgments."
Since the beginning of IPL, RCB have been guilty of poor talent scouting. They've often relied heavily on superstars like Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle, barely showing any interest in unearthing raw talents from nowhere like four-time champions Mumbai Indians. Under Hesson, a change on that front is on the cards.
"Firstly, we have appointed a head of scouting (Malolan Rangarajan)," said Hesson. "We will also employ some scouts who will go to tournaments. The Syed Mushtaq Ali is an obvious one, Vijay Hazare another one, especially heading into the bigger auctions where you need to be well advanced in your thinking in terms of the players that you need to look at. And I think we are going to put together a really good group of scouts.
"We are going to be proactive in how we look to do it. Not potentially a traditional just look at scorecards and have a trial. We are going to be more in-depth in how we look at players and that’s something we will look to do as a scouting group. We know that there is plenty of talent within the Karnataka area which we obviously won’t be neglecting but we are also going to look as wide as we can as a franchise."