Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
With the Indian Premier League (IPL) starting tomorrow, the Royal Challengers Bangalore will be aiming to clinch their first title this year, but how does captain Virat Kohli rate his side’s chances of lifting the coveted trophy?
Kohli was retained by the Royal Challengers for INR 17 crores, but during the IPL auction in January, the franchise bought numerous high-profile international players, including Brendon McCullum, Quinton de Kock and Chris Woakes.
Kohli admitted that he is extremely excited about the team he will be leading, and is “optimistic” about his side’s chances of having a strong season.
The Royal Challengers will kick off their campaign against the Kolkata Knight Riders on April 8.
“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,” Kohli was quoted as saying by the International Cricket Council (ICC) website.
The Indian skipper added that he was thrilled with the fact that the franchise had managed to add Gary Kirsten to the coaching staff.
“This discussion came up sometime before the auction happened,” he said. “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.
“I had a great working relationship with Gary. 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.”
Coming into the IPL, Kohli is refreshed and raring to go as he took some time off following a gruelling home season and a lengthy tour of South Africa.
Kohli missed the Nidahas Trophy in Sri Lanka, but admitted that he needed to rest and recuperate as he was struggling with a few niggles.
“I required it,” Kohli said. “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 needed complete time off from the game. Three weeks without even looking at my kit bag or bats was a weird feeling.
“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’m definitely at 100 per cent now, 110 is what I prefer and that 10 will take a little more time.”