We are trying to create a culture of excellence, says RCB chairman

RCB chairman Sanjeev Churiwala remains very optimistic of the team's chances in the latest Indian Premier League (IPL 2019) season.

RCB chairman Sanjeev Churiwala Virat Kohli

RCB chairman Sanjeev Churiwala (extreme right) feels the RCB franchise has a premium appeal.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) often hits the right notes on paper. Its batting helmed by skipper Virat Kohli, has heft. The bowling may have had its rough patches but this was a unit that exuded a rock-star allure and yet the results haven’t matched up.

Since the Indian Premier League’s inception in 2008, RCB’s high-points have been restricted to three runner-up finishes. The latest season presents another opportunity for the squad to prove its potential. The defeat in the opener against Chennai Super Kings here on Saturday night would rankle, but RCB chairman Sanjeev Churiwala remains very optimistic.

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In a free-wheeling chat recently with Sportstar at the Leela Palace, Sanjeev, who is also an executive director and chief financial officer with parent company Diageo India, explained his vision for RCB: “We want RCB to be a professionally run team, to be a trusted sports and lifestyle brand and to provide joy to its fans. All that us in the management team are doing is to create the ideal atmosphere, the perfect team ethos and empower the cricket leadership team to arrive at their own decisions.

Honestly, I would not like to tell Kohli or our coaches about where Shimron Hetmyer should play or what role would be ideal for Shivam Dube. That’s not the role I would like to play. While the cricket leadership team is fully empowered to decide cricket strategy, the management would work towards RCB being the most trusted, respected and best in class franchise.”

Sanjeev, who grew up in Kolkata, naturally has a soft spot for football, but quickly adds that like all Indians, he is equally obsessed with cricket. He is also philosophical about sport and said: “Look, we will win some, lose some, that is inevitable but what we are trying to do is to pick up the right mix at the auction, finding the ideal coaching personnel like Gary Kirsten, Ashish Nehra and create a culture of excellence. We want any new player, who is stepping into the RCB dressing room to be aware of the franchise’s culture, experience the professionalism and excel in what he does. We are over-indexing on all of these. Financially, too, the franchise has done well and it has a premium-appeal.”

A few years back when the team’s management transitioned from Vijay Mallya to Diageo, there were speculations about a probable dilution of ownership but Sanjeev quells those rumours. “The fact that people like me, who are part of the parent company, have also been entrusted with the task of leading the franchise is proof of how seriously Diageo is attached to RCB. We are backing the team whole-heartedly. And for the fans, who are our biggest stake-holders, we have unveiled an app that has been received well,” Sanjeev said.

Meanwhile, the team eyes a revival in Thursday’s game against Mumbai Indians at its home bastion — the Chinnaswamy Stadium.