IPL 2018: Kohli 'optimistic' of RCB's chances

With a large group of support staff at its disposal, the Royal Challengers Bangalore led by Virat Kohli would hope to finally deliver on its promise of previous seasons.

The most high-profile name to join RCB this year is Gary Kirsten, coach of the Indian national team when it won the World Cup in 2011.   -  K. Murali Kumar

It seems Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) has left no stone unturned in its pursuit of the elusive Indian Premier League trophy. It showed in the kind of players procured during the auction – a group of domestic bowlers, multi-skilled overseas players and specialist wicket-keepers.

But for skipper Virat Kohli, it appears it had to go even beyond as RCB has assembled one of its largest-ever group of support staff.

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In addition to the retention of head-coach Daniel Vettori, Andrew McDonald and Trent Woodhill have had their roles realigned from last year while Ashish Nehra has been appointed the bowling coach. However, the most high-profile of names is batting great Gary Kirsten, coach of the Indian national team when it won the World Cup in 2011.

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“I was personally in favour of getting Gary on board,” Kohli said here on Wednesday. “This discussion came up sometime before the auction. I thought it was a great opportunity for the younger guys to spend  time with Gary because I benefitted massively from his inputs in the early stages of my career and that certainly made me a better cricketer in those tough times.”

“In terms of the batting group operating, I think he's the ideal man to supervise things. I saw him do that at the international level 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.”

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For Vettori, the presence of a big backroom team may mean a slight shift in his role and also a lessening of the burden to a certain extent.

“It has depended on the coaching staff we've got around,” the Kiwi said about his duties. “This year we've probably got the strongest coaching staff we've ever had. Already we're seeing the benefits. Like what Ashish brings with his experience, his knowledge and his understanding of domestic bowlers. I'm really happy with that. I suppose I step back into more of a managerial role as well as looking after the spin bowlers.”

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Kohli and Vettori will only hope that all these efforts finally translate into on-field success.

“We are optimistic about the season,” Kohli said. “It's a very balanced side. In the 10 years that I've been here, I don't think we've ever had such balance. We are not relying only on batting, we've got bowling options too. That gives us plenty of positivity. If we execute our plans well enough, we have cricketers with experience who know how to get the job done.”

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