Confident with new buys
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. I think the thing we spoke about creating a culture and expecting people to follow it is going to be the key. Every team is strong in 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.
Pressure to win the Cup?
(Ricky) Ponting has said that India winning the World Cup depends on your form. Inspiring or pressure?
Both things are not controllable. If I tell you that every year we lose because of the pressure of winning the cup that will be wrong. You don’t need just your team to handle pressure with composure. You need those around you to do it too. If you say as fans, ‘We won’t come and watch if you don’t win the Cup’ that will be your choice. But if we say that ‘Looking at fans’ behaviour, we won’t come to play in the stadium’, then it will result in a walkover. So that relationship is both ways and it’s important to understand that. We realised this last year. You shouldn’t create an atmosphere even before the tournament has started that ‘We are going to win this year’ because there are seven other teams too. You have to be realistic. It’s not a one-team dominated tournament. Each one should understand their contribution, that ‘How can we help the team rather than put pressure on them’. That’s important and then you enjoy that journey more too. You have the opportunity to be a big team. Your second question, it’s not in my control whether someone speaks well of me or ill of me. I just have to do my job. I need to go into every match and fulfil my responsibility. I need to make runs, stop runs in the field and lead the team well – so my attention is focussed only on that. What people say, good or bad, I don’t define my life by that.
Shortcomings of RCB
The failure lies where decisions aren’t made properly. 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. When your decision-making is spot-on and balanced, those teams win the IPL. The teams that are more relaxed, don’t take the pressure too much, and take good decisions in pressure moments – they should get the credit for winning.
Preparation of Team India ahead of World Cup
I have addressed this a few days ago. From a responsibility point of view, all Indian players will have the responsibility during the IPL to keep a watch on their fitness and workload. We have created a frame of mind in the Indian team to strive towards excellence and to improve every day. Each player will take this tournament as an opportunity to go to the World Cup with a good frame of mind.
Keeping a tab on players’ workload
No, you cannot put a cap on anything. If I’m able to play 10, 12 or 15 games it doesn’t necessarily mean that the other guy can only play that many. My body might demand I play a certain number of games and I need to be smart about that and rest. Someone else’s body might be more capable than mine or less, that is a very individual thing. As I said, the responsibility lies with the player. Everyone wants to play the World Cup, so people will be smart about it because you don’t want to miss out on such a big event.
So ‘Ee sala Cup…’ added pressure?
I can only speak for myself. From my point of view, I can ignore it. But if you can’t take a guarantee that everyone else is going to ignore it, then it can stay in your mind. That’s why I said it’s very important to be aligned with the team’s culture and vision, and be a part of the team and not put expectations that are far away. No one wants to win more badly than the players, that anyone will guarantee you.