Ashish Nehra often called ‘Nehra ji’ by his teammates, although in later stages of his career, had done wonders for the T20 sides he has played... be it Chennai Super Kings or playing a pivotal role in guiding the Indian team to the semi-final of T20 World Cup in 2016. It has been 15 months since he and Gary Kirsten joined the RCB coaching staff. RCB placed sixth last year and Nehra and Kirsten are hoping for a better outcome this season.
Gary Kirsten emphasised that a team needs more than one or two match winners to win the league of this magnitude.
“At the end of the day, we need to have a shared purpose in terms of what we want to achieve as a team. Each of these players is commodities you know in IPL, so you need to get them to feel like they are playing for a shared purpose. Every team is trying to do that. Some have done it better than others. We are going to make it the focus of our attention this year, to make sure that we understand what that shared purpose is. You want every player to be able to know to go out and perform for the team. We don't rely on 1 or 2 guys to be the match-winners all that time,” said Kirsten
“During the previous season, much of the batting depended on AB and Virat, but now you have Hetmyer, Klaasen and Stoinis. I think that's the intention. One thing we identified last year was that we needed some middle-order strength. That's been the intention,” he said on the inclusion of power hitters which will bolster the batting line-up.
Talking about the importance of bench strength, Nehra said, “IPL is a long tournament. Bench strength really matters not only looking at the World Cup. Even if there is no World Cup, every year you see all the franchises they look for the best options. World Cup is a tournament that comes once in four years but even in between those three years, you have to be ready. Who knows, it's a 14-game-long tournament and somebody played 5, 6, 7 games and he's not feeling comfortable, he's not performing, he's not in a great set of mind. You always need a good back-up.”
“That's why all the franchises they spend good money even on the back ups. At times, there are so many people who tell me 'you have this bowler, you paid that much money, you have this batter' -- he might not even play. That's not the case only with RCB, that's the case with every franchise. You have to have good back up because you are talking about eight-week long tournament. Or even going forward into the World Cup, you see all the international teams, those 14-15 who go to play the World Cup, all the teams, they have another 16-17 ready, either they are travelling with the team or they are in the respective countries.”
Former Indian fast-bowler also advocated Virat Kohli’s idea of managing workload of Indian fast bowlers. He said,”It’s upto individual to keep its body fit and know when to take rest in this eight-week tournament. He said ,”I personally feel, I've been hearing these things, like somebody asked Virat Kohli looking forward to World Cup. This is an individual thing. Mainly if you talk about fast bowlers, let's say Jasprit Bumrah is fit or Bhuvneshwar Kumar is fit and they are ready to go. I am a firm believer, not only as a fast bowler but even as a cricketer, the more you play, you will get better. If a player is saying that 'I'm feeling fatigued and I'm feeling tired and I need a break for 2 games', then so be it.
That's why you other question also comes that you need a good back up. I got injured in World Cup semifinal and after that I didn't play IPL. This debate will always be there -Oh country first, club first. Cricket is not a soccer thing, that time will also come. Here you have a responsibility to the franchise also and as a bowler or as a batter. When you talk about. If somebody tell Virat Kohli that you are not playing this IPL, come fresjh for the World Cup, I don't think it's the right way. If he's only practising, that practice is different. You know, IPL is a pressure tournament, it is as good as international cricket, that's why everybody wants to play. So you are going to the World Cup through that pressure. If I'm a bowler, I keep bowling yorkers or good length balls, same thing I have to do in World Cup. Sitting at home, I've not played cricket for ...xyz is going to think I'm going to deliver in the World Cup, it's wrong.