Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli is confident and optimistic this time as his team will battle it out one more time to win their maiden Indian Premier League title as the tournament gets underway on April 9. New and skillful young faces have made Bangalore a formidable outfit and RCB are better off playing at neutral venues. Defending totals on the smaller home ground, M Chinnaswamy Stadium has been a disadvantage. The likes of Mohammed Siraj, Washington Sundar and Navdeep Saini have returned to the RCB fold as Test cricketers. Their exploits in Australia, and against England at home, have made them household names in India, and they are brimming with confidence.
On the eve of their IPL-14 opener against defending champions Mumbai Indians, Kohli spoke about how his confidence after playing at the international level as a youngster rubbed off on him during the IPL, something that can also happen with Washington and Siraj, who have done well in recent Test matches.
“(What) I did as a youngster was bring in that confidence of international level at the IPL. Watching Washy, (Navdeep) Saini and Siraj coming onto their own and Yuzi has been around for a while, show their personalities, it will help us pull stronger as a team, and move in right direction,” Kohli said during his interaction with RCB’s media team.
What has satisfied Kohli more than anything else is the presence of young “impact players” in his team, which, in turn, is a headache for the opposition.
“Our youngsters have become more confident with more experience. Now opposition knows that these guys can make impact in any situation as well which is obviously a great sign for us.”
Just like last year in the UAE, no team will get home advantage even in Indian conditions, which is a good thing, according to Kohli.
“There’s nothing quite like playing at the Chinnaswamy but good thing is we are back in India and one more positive like last year is that there is no home advantage,” he said.
“Every team is playing in neutral venues, and strength of the side comes to the fore and precisely why last IPL was so competitive. Because every team was in reckoning to qualify for play-offs, save last 3-4 games, which is great for the tournament as viewership last time went through the roof.
“Having done well last year in such a competitive scenario, I am confident we will put up strong show this time around,” he added.
He also welcomed foreign additions in the squad. “Very excited with the squad we have this year. We would like to go a couple of steps further. Great to have Maxi (Glenn Maxwell) in the set-up.
“Jhye (Richardson) has been added to the team. Dan Cristian comes back, couple of Indian guys, who have been picked are exciting, Daniel Sams has been picked up,” he said.
The team composition has actually made the captain more relaxed.
“Personally, I feel relaxed with the resources we have, and strength of our team Looking forward to being in the park and leading up to IPL is full of anticipation and nerves, looking forward to that first game on the ground as a team.”
AB de Villiers, a bonafide RCB legend, is happy that the coaching staff is speaking the same language, which creates less confusion and gives more freedom.
“One thing that stands out for me is the language that coaches are using. Excited that we have got the same mould like last year, some new faces, yes but the same language used which gives us players, freedom and comfort while focussing on our games and making sure what we need to do,” De Villiers said.
On a lighter note, he said that before he hangs his boot he would like to see crowds back in the stadium.
(With Agency Inputs)