Virat Kohli believes the present Royal Challengers Bangalore set-up is their ‘most balanced’ side since the 2016 IPL campaign when they reached the summit clash only to lose to Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The RCB skipper pointed out that they have a good mix of youth and experience in the set-up, and also the required skill-set ahead of the IPL 2020. “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,” he 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.”
Kohli said that the set-up would ‘disconnect with things that happened in the past’ and look to move forward. Despite reaching a couple of finals, RCB haven’t hoisted the IPL trophy so far. The franchise also finished as the bottom-placed side in IPL 2019. “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.”
The RCB captain also observed that AB de Villiers, one of the bedrocks of the batting order, is feeling relaxed and looking in good nick. “Because 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.”
Due to the Covid-19 situation, the tournament will be played in the UAE in a bio-bubble environment and at just three venues – Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. Kohli was pleased with the reduced travel, and also added that playing at just three venues would make the ‘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.”