Captain Virat Kohli on Wednesday said he remains as motivated and committed as ever to lead Royal Challengers Bangalore to a maiden Indian Premier League title, beginning April 7.
RCB have been the perennial under-achievers of the competition, failing to go all the way despite reaching the final thrice. It all went wrong for them last season when they finished last.
"More than the fans I want to win the cup. I have been with Bangalore for last 10 years and we haven't crossed the final hurdle three times. I can assure you, my commitment is going to be 120 per per cent to try and achieve the goal this time," said Kohli after a training session.
Kohli believes that the current RCB side is 'one of the most balanced' teams they have had in the past few years and that it is a massive boost for him as a captain heading into the IPL.
"Well, the auction has gone pretty well for us. I think we have one of the most balanced side we have had in many years. That pleases me a lot as a captain. We are not relying on one skill or the other. I think it is a great balance of spinners, fast bowlers, couple of all-rounders, spinning all-rounders, fast bowling all-rounders. Obviously, the batting has been a strong point for RCB over the years. But, I think the bowling department and strengthening of it has been a massive boost for us from this auction. Pretty optimistic about our chances heading into the IPL," Kohli said.
RCB have been short on batting firepower and Kohli feels this time the team has a good bowling line-up too.
"The batting has been strong point for RCB over the years, but I think the strengthening of bowling department has been a massive boost for us from this auction. I am very optimistic about our chances heading into this IPL," said the skipper.
The franchise has a solid spin department comprising Yuvzendra Chahal, Washington Sundar, M Ashwin, Pawan Negi and England all-rounder Moeen Ali. There are plenty of pace options too in the presence of Umesh Yadav, England all-rounder Chris Woakes, Delhi's Navdeep Saini, Mohammad Siraj and New Zealander Tim Southee.
The swashbuckling Indian batsman revealed that the RCB, this time around, have picked up players during the IPL Player auction in Bengaluru, keeping in mind their willingness to contribute to the side's team culture.
"The specialists have done good things for different teams around the world. That is something that we looked at as well before picking these players. Guys, who can contribute to our team culture, guys who are happy contributing on and off the field for the team throughout the IPL. Someone who are not worried about their personal performances as such. So, I think we have got a great bunch of people," Kohli said.
RCB are slated to begin their IPL campaign against Kolkata Knight Riders on April 8 at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata
Washington Sundar’s presence to give extra options to Kohli in powerplays: Chahal
Washington Sundar's presence in the Royal Challengers Bangalore fold will give skipper Virat Kohli more options during Powerplay and middle overs, feels star leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal.
Washington-Chahal forged a lethal combination during India's Nidahas T20 Tri-Series triumph in Sri Lanka last month.
"In Sri Lanka, Washington bowled in the Powerplay overs and I was bowling in the middle overs. In previous IPL seasons, I used to bowl in the Powerplays and was left only with two overs (during later stages). Now we have options. One can bowl in power play and can chip more in middle overs," Chahal said at media conference.
Wrist spinners are doing well but are always under the pump with a chance of going for a lot of runs at times. But the wiry leg-break bowler believes that a comeback is possible if one has a big heart.
"In this format, you are sure to get hit. For instance, in Nidahas Trophy, I was hit by Sri Lankans for 27 runs in two overs. I just told myself, you need to forget the past and make a strong comeback to pick wickets after being smashed," he said.
Bowling at the Chinnaswamy is baptism by fire and that has made him a more fearless competitor.
"When you play for India, you get more confidence because of bowling at Chinnaswamy. A spinner is always worried about short boundaries, but having bowled here, I don't fear bowling anywhere," he said.
The extremely short side boundaries of Chinnaswamy tests the mettle of best of slow bowlers.
"I have been a successful bowler at the Chinnaswamy for the past four years despite its short boundaries."
Chahal assessed that Chinnaswamy pitch this time is flatter compared to last season.
"Compared to last year, the strips at the Chinnaswamy are different. It looks much better. One can expect a couple of 200-plus totals. In fact, I prefer flat wickets, for it gives our batsmen a chance to post big totals," he said.