Skipper Virat Kohli feels the current Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) team is the ‘most balanced’ since IPL 2016 when they reached the final, only to lose to Sunrisers Hyderabad. After finishing with the wooden spoon in two of the last three IPL editions, RCB revamped their complete setup and overhauled their support staff group entirely. The RCB team management also focussed on bringing in ‘better balance’ in the squad with the signing of South African all-rounder Chris Morris and Australia’s limited-overs captain Aaron Finch.

“We’ve got a great balance of experience, the skill required for T20 cricket and the youngsters in the team who are eager to take up the responsibility and look forward to opportunities that we’re going to provide them. It’s an exciting time,” Kohli told RCB TV.

“As I said, that 2016 season which we’ve all loved to be a part of…it was such a memorable season. Since then, to be honest, this is the most balanced I’ve felt about the squad, as a system where we’re heading. It’s been very well taken care of now; it’s up to us to execute those things on the field.”

RCB are yet to win an IPL trophy. They reached the finals thrice, but ended up on the losing side on all occasions. Kohli said that the set-up would “disconnect with things that happened in the past” and look to move forward.

The 31-year-old, who will enter his eighth season as IPL captain, for long has been the torchbearer of the batting.

“It’s about disconnecting with things that have happened in the past and not taking that baggage. We’ve done that way too many times. Just because we have a bunch of players who are so skilled and people like seeing them play, that’s why people have had expectations. We’re not going to think of ‘what ifs’; we know what we can do. We’re very keen and hungry to do it.”

Kohli also spoke on Proteas batting star AB de Villiers, saying he has looked calmer than ever. “We’ve never felt so calm going into a season before. He (de Villiers) is coming from a very different space, he’s been enjoying his life, is relaxed. He came out to play and is looking like playing in 2011 still – he’s as fit as ever.”

Kohli felt reduced travel because of playing at just three venues – all at a driving distance from one another – without the ‘home and away’ advantage would make “competition more even”.

“In the IPL, the biggest challenge used to be travel,” he said. “You pack your bags for a two-match trip, three-match trip, you come back and it’s hectic. It is more of a level-playing field now. Three venues and every team would know the conditions. It boils down to the skill-level rather than the home-away advantage. Competition will be even and high because of this factor.”