Bengaluru: Captain Virat Kohli said he remains as motivated and committed as ever to lead Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) to a maiden Indian Premier League (IPL) title.
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 percent to try and achieve the goal this time,” said Kohli after a training session here today.
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 a 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 allrounder Moeen Ali. There are plenty of pace options too in the presence of Umesh Yadav, England allrounder Chris Woakes, Delhi’s Navdeep Saini, Mohammad Siraj and New Zealander Tim Southee.
On new players bought in the auction, Kohli said they are very excited to be part of RCB and he had the joy of playing with some of them.
“Some of them I know personally. We picked up players who could contribute to our culture and not be so worried about their personal performances,” he said.
On Gary Kirsten as part of the coaching staff, Kohli said the South African could massively help the players.
“This was discussed before the auctions. I thought it could be a great opportunity for young players to spend time with Gary, since I too benefitted massively from him early in my career (when he was India coach). I certainly became a better cricketer,” he said.
The star batsman said he had a great working relationship with Kirsten.
“I had a great working relationship with Gary. In terms of the batting group operating, I think he is the ideal man to supervise things. Gary is good at it because he has the ability to keep the batting group together at the international level, just how he did it with the Indian cricket team.
“Having so many big names in the team and how he got everyone together and the team spirit going, I think that was an outstanding factor as far as I saw it,” Kohli said.
After taking a three-week break, Kohli has been training non-stop for last 12 days and feels he is getting close to his peak.
“I am definitely at 100 percent now, 110 is what I prefer and that 10 will take a little more time,” he said.
Kohli said the break was refreshing after a gruelling South Africa tour.
“Three weeks without even looking at my kit bag or bats was a weird feeling. At the back of your mind, you are never out of the game.
“Keeping a check on cricket played around the world kept me involved with the game,” he added.
ICC World Cup 2019: Team India to don new jersey for away matches
The hype surrounding the ongoing World Cup in England and Wales is on an escalation with the tournament only a week away. The mega event is scheduled to get underway on May 30 and Team India is deemed as one of the favourites to get their hands on the coveted trophy. All the teams wear special kits for the World Cup and the Indian team also had unveiled their jersey for the tournament, however, there’s an addition to it.
As per the ICC’s World Cup schedule, the teams have home and away matches. The Men in Blue will not actually be completely Blue when they play those away games. The Indian team will play with a new and differently coloured clothing for all the away matches in the tournament. Their first match is against South Africa on June 5 at the Rose Bowl in Southampton.
Their away matches are versus Afghanistan on June 22 at The Rose Bowl in Southampton and versus hosts England on June 30 at the Edgbaston in Birmingham. As many as four teams- England, India, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan- have blue as their preferred colour. However, since England are the hosts, the other teams will have to change their colours when they lock horns with the Eoin Morgan-led Brits.
Different outfits for Team India
India’s jersey is yet to be released and will see the players wear a darker blue in the front, whereas orange will dominate the sleeves as well as the back.
On the other hand, teams like Pakistan, Bangladesh and South Africa have a common colour – green jerseys. As a result, these teams will also need to look for alternatives for a few matches in the tournament. Australia, Windies and New Zealand should not have to change the colours since they already having distinct jerseys.
The opening match of the World Cup will be played between hosts England and South Africa at the Kennington Oval in London. Apart from India, England are also on the expected winner’s list for the 50-overs tournament as they are ICC’s number-one ranked ODI team at the moment.
ICC World Cup 2019: Sachin Tendulkar picks his semi-finalists ahead of WC
Legendary India cricketer Sachin Tendulkar has given his opinion into which four teams he feels will enter the semi-finals of the ICC World Cup 2019 which is scheduled to be played between May 30 and July 14 in England and Wales.
“India, England, Australia should be in the semis. The fourth could be one of New Zealand or Pakistan,” Tendulkar was quoted as saying by ESPN Cricinfo. ((Complete coverage of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019))
Earlier, speaking to Hindustan Times, Tendulkar had said India have a well-balanced squad and they are capable of pulling off something special in UK.
“We have a balanced team which can go out and do something special. The whole team has to chip in, there will be some performers (in different situations, who must say) ‘this is my game; I am batting well or bowling well’. Support is needed from the other end also,” the Master Blaster said.
Tendulkar also heaped praise on wicket-keeper batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni and said he has a big role to play for Team India.
“Not only in batting, also behind the stumps. He has got the best view; the batters are always looking for the gaps and what areas to target. Standing behind the batsmen, he can see that. He has plenty of suggestions to make and that would come in handy,” Tendulkar said.
“His contribution will be in the form of an experienced keeper observing the game and making suggestions. Also, his experience while batting—how to play those critical moments, how to rotate the strike, when to strike, and when to just build a partnership—will count.”
The first match of the World Cup will be played between England and South Africa on May 30 while India open their campaign against South Africa on June 5.
Before that, the ‘Blue Brigade’ will take on New Zealand and Bangaldesh in two practice matches on Saturday and Tuesday respectively.
India’s 15-member squad: Virat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami.
Shakib tops ICC ODI all-rounders list
Dubai: Senior Bangladesh cricketer Shakib Al Hasan Wednesday jumped to the top of the latest MRF Tyres ICC ODI rankings for all-rounders, which doesn’t feature a single Indian in the top-10 chart.
Shakib, 32, grabbed the top spot just ahead of the ODI World Cup after showcasing fine form during the tri-nation series in Ireland, which Bangladesh famously won to claim their first title in a multi-nation tournament.
In the three matches of the series, Shakib totalled 140 runs, including two unbeaten half-centuries and also picked up two wickets.
Shakib now has 359 points, 20 clear of Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan, the previous holder of the top ranking, who has now slipped to No. 2.
Rashid’s Afghanistan team-mate Mohammad Nabi completes the top three, with 319 points.
Pakistan are the only other team to have two players in the top 10, with Imad Wasim at No. 4 and Mohammad Hafeez claiming the seventh spot.
They are separated by New Zealand’s Mitchell Santner (No.5) and England’s Chris Woakes, who leapfrogged four places to No. 6.
West Indies captain Jason Holder is their top-ranked all-rounder at number eight spot followed by Zimbabwe’s Sikandar Raza and Angelo Mathews of Sri Lanka.England’s Ben Stokes missed out on the top 10 by one spot, finishing eight points behind Mathews.
Kedar Jadhav, who is part of India’s World Cup team and is recovering from a shoulder injury, is the best-placed Indian at joint 12th spot alongside South Africa’s Andile Phehlukwayo and Moeen Ali of England.
Hardik Pandya completes the top 20 list.