CSK v RCB... Strong captains and their influence

The opening game this season, is going to be an interesting contest not between just two teams, but also between two captains and their personalities.

Dhoni and Kohli are contrast personalities when it comes to captaincy.   -  K. Pichumani

At home, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) is very tough to beat. Its captain, M. S. Dhoni, is still evergreen and performing at the top of his game, so the task is cut out for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).

I hope RCB has learned from its mistakes and it’s important for the team to understand that it’s not just about Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. It is about making sure that in situations when they are not at the crease, the others should step up and execute their roles properly.

At the same time, it is important for RCB to find its best team quickly and make sure the bowling is good enough to defend whatever the batsmen get. It also needs to ensure that it restricts the opposition to a manageable total because that’s one area where it has struggled every year.

RCB doesn't have the depth in batting if Kohli or de Villiers fail to deliver.    -  PTI Photo


Whether Kohli bats at the top and de Villiers at 3 or whether they are split up - are the points the team needs to look into.

I hope the team is smarter than in the last few years when it comes to overall strategy. It’s not easy to get everything right, but the team has had the years to work on it. The personnel, of course individual brilliance, have also been there.

In the bowling department, Umesh Yadav was brilliant last year as long as his overs were done by the 13-14 or 15 overs. When he bowled at the death, he was expensive but then, he was one of the successful bowlers in the Powerplay in terms of taking wickets. That’s very important for a side to win games.

Why teams like Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and CSK have been successful is because they keep it very simple.

Chennai has specific roles for players for specific situations. The strategy is very clinical and not based on emotion; it’s pure analysis and the team sticks to it.

SRH has a fantastic bowling attack, its batting is basic, but very solid. The bowlers always keep the team in the hunt no matter how many runs the batters have got.

For RCB, either the batting or the bowling has been sub-par at one point or the other. The moment the team gets a big total, the bowlers are not strong enough. This happens because the side is not balanced enough to restrict the opposition. Or when RCB does have a good bowling attack, it doesn't have the depth in batting if Kohli or de Villiers fail to deliver. 

So, this is going to be an important year for RCB to vindicate the choices it makes, the strategies it adopts and the teams it picks.

Now, let's look at the captains, Dhoni and Kohli. Kohli is an emotional skipper. He virtually bats and bowls for his players, goes through the highs and lows with them. He thinks that when emotions bring the best out of him as an individual, it would be positive for the team also, especially when it is under pressure. If he can balance his genius and look at other players objectively and understand that each player is different in terms of skill and personality, things would be better.

Dhoni, on the other hand, never really second-guesses his strategy and trusts his players to perform the roles they are given. He goes by simple tactics and strategy, but is street smart and flexible. So, the opening game this season, is going to be a very interesting contest not between just two teams, but also between two captains and their personalities.

I am also eager to see how Ambati Rayudu performs this season. Last season, Dhoni, especially in the death overs, was the most successful batsman. Shane Watson is also batting really well at the moment. He is coming from a great PSL and that should make CSK happy.

CSK depends a lot on experience, and doesn’t select wild-cards unless it is pushed to the corner. But then, pressure is constant for any player and Dhoni is used to it.

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