Two of India’s most prolific cricketers Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma will lock horns with each other as the 14th season of Indian Premier League (IPL) gets underway on Friday, with Royal Challengers Bangalore taking on the defending champions Mumbai Indians in the lung-opener.
Kohli’s RCB, who are yet to be crowned as IPL champions, will look to turn the tables around going into the new season and with the franchise roping in some fresh talents in the form of Australia’s Glenn Maxwell and New Zealand’s Kyle Jamieson, a power-packed performance can be expected on the cards.
Speaking ahead of the team’s clash against Mumbai, RCB skipper Kohli emphasised that the boys are relaxed backing the team’s strength and shed light on India regulars Washington Sundar, Mohammed Siraj, and Navdeep Saini’s role in the squad.
Personally, I feel very relaxed with the resources we have and the strength. Time leading up to the IPL is always full of anticipation and few nerves. We are looking forward to being on the ground together as a team,” Kohli said addressing a virtual media press along with teammates AB de Villiers and Maxwell.
Kohli also expects the trio of Sundar, Siraj, and Saini, who have now been a regular face in the Indian setup, to channel their experience gained in international level and apply it efficiently in the lucrative T20 league.
“From a personal experience, it’s really good to see a lot of guys doing well in the national team. It’s always an exciting time to come to the IPL and make this tournament your own and that’s something I came to do as a youngster. Bring in the confidence I gained in the international level back into the IPL setup.”
“So, watching guys like Saini (Navdeep Saini), Washi (Washington Sundar), Siraj (Mohammed Siraj), you obviously want these guys to show their personality in the field for us and that way we can pull stronger as a team. Our youngsters have become more confident, more experienced, and now the opposition knows these are guys they can make it back in any situation.” the RCB and India skipper added.
Sharing his views on IPL’s new rule of conducting matches at neutral venues, Kohli said: “There’s nothing close to playing at Chinnaswamy, in front of your home crowd. It’s obvious the fans are going to miss watch us play but such are times right now.”
Meanwhile, Mr 360, a name given to De Villiers by the fans, referring to his batting style, lauded the coach for the excellent preparations and showed faith in the new guys, which were roped by the franchise in the mini auction held earlier this year.
“One thing that stands out for me is the consistency, the language the coaches are using, very excited to be with the old faces here. Some new faces are there but the language gives more confidence and focus on our games, making sure we are on top of the role we need to do.”
“Bunch of talented players have come in and I’m very excited to play with some of the new guys like Maxi (Glenn Maxwell), who I’ve been following for quite a few years,” the former South African skipper said.
Maxwell, who has been inducted into the RCB camp after the franchise spent a whopping 14.25 crores (INR), feels he could bring some energy into the unit and help them have a successful campaign.
“Very nice to straightaway slip into the squad, feels like I’ve been here for a few years now. The guys have been extremely welcoming, and I feel like I can bring in some energy,” Maxwell said.
“Always trying to learn as well especially after being part of a brilliant side not just in T20 cricket but world cricket, so I’m trying to learn as much as I can,” the Australian added.