It's that time of the year when the International players have packed their respective International gears and have touched down India to play the most prestigious franchise-based T20 league which is scheduled to start on March 23 when MS Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings host Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore. Every year, Indian Premier League (IPL) brings an opportunity to domestic and International players to express themselves, which in many cases help them to even feature in their respective International line ups. Earlier, we have seen the likes of Rohit Sharma, Shane Watson, Shaun Marsh doing so.
There is one more opportunity which strikes every year, that is, to win an IPL title. And the amount of expectations people have from Bangalore franchise in immense, seeing the quality of players they have in the lineup. However, even then, they haven't been able to add to their list of IPL title till now. To this, Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli, who has been leading the side since 2013 said that the failure lies where decisions aren't made properly.
"The failure lies where decisions aren't made properly," he said in Bangalore on Saturday (March 16). "If I sit here and say our luck was bad, that won't be right. You make your own luck, and if you make poor decisions and the other team makes good ones, you will lose. When we played big matches too, our decision-making wasn't right."While that may have been a problem of the past, looking ahead, Kohli stressed on the importance of creating a culture this year.
A culture that will not just be a part of the set-up this year, but one that they are striving to make the essence of the franchise, that would live on, even bereft of Kohli."What we've spoken about this year is to lay down a culture, which is the most important thing for any team. One thing that remains an essential for any team is striving for excellence and being committed to what you want to achieve. That takes commitment on a daily basis, and that is something I'm looking forward to this season. We will require absolute professionalism from all our players. We'll give responsibility to the players to handle themselves on the field, off the field, and take good decisions, be responsible about their life and the sport as well."
We all are here taking care of that culture for now. We're not going to be here after a few years, none of us can be here forever. But RCB will remain for a long, long time and the next lot of players that come in should feel that culture, embrace it and be proud of being part of this franchise. To me it has been a most special experience. I don't see myself leaving or playing for any other franchise. That's purely because of that connect. We're going to play this season for that connect."
"When you choose players you obviously want to choose the strongest players that are in front of you and what your team requires the most. I think from that point of view we've been spot on doing that. But you can never predict how a season is going to go. In a couple of finals that we reached, we felt that maybe we don't have the right balance, but suddenly your players get into a zone where they're unstoppable and then you just back that team throughout the season," said Kohli.
RCB have recruited the arsenal they believed they needed, but that doesn't necessarily have to be a proven success, as Gary Kirsten, the RCB coach, acknowledged."I don't think it takes rocket science to work out where our weak points were. We've certainly tried to address that in our recruitment for this year. But as much as sport is about getting the right players on board...we have no clue if someone we've recruited is going to fire in this IPL or not. What we do know is we try to build a balance as best we can, based on learnings from past tournaments. And you've got to have a hard edge around your performances, you've got to build some momentum in the competition."
And if we're able to do that, then some players that people think are not good enough, they might fire. There are a lot of teams that wouldn't have expected someone that did really well for them to do so. And we're no different. A lot of doing well in this tournament is around how you build that momentum and how you understand to win games in really close situations," Kirsten said.
For Kohli, however, it's about creating that culture he was referring to earlier, as the foundation for his side this season."The thing that stands out for me this season is that against all the beliefs and views that go around, the thing that we have been able to do in the last ten years is just create a fan base which is impossible to create if you are striving for things that are not real. That has happened purely because of the spirit with which we played our cricket."
Even after so many years, having reached three finals and three semifinals and not having that trophy in our hand, we never felt like there was a lack of enthusiasm before starting a season. It can only happen when you have such a strong fan base and a stadium that you look forward to coming to and playing in."We spoke about creating a culture, and expecting people to follow it is going to be key. Every team is strong in the IPL, you have world-class players playing all over. It's the team that wants it the most, and wants it more badly that goes through. That is something we'll look forward to bringing out in the players this season and everyone is really driven about that. I can guarantee you there will be no lack of commitment or pride of playing for RCB this season."