Virat a doubtful starter in IPL, says RCB coach Vettori

Virat Kohli will join the Royal Challengers Bangalore camp on Sunday, although his availability for the early games of the Indian Premier League (IPL) season is still in doubt, according to Daniel Vettori.

Should Kohli, who suffered a shoulder injury during the third Test against Australia in Ranchi, indeed miss a couple of games, A.B. de Villiers will likely fill in as captain of RCB.   -  G. P. Sampath Kumar

 

Virat Kohli will join the Royal Challengers Bangalore camp on Sunday, although his availability for the early games of the Indian Premier League (IPL) season is still in doubt, according to Daniel Vettori. “He will come in on April 2,” the RCB head coach said here on Thursday, as his side commenced training. “Between now and then, the BCCI doctors and physio will speak to us (on his condition) and our medical staff will get a clearer picture. Right now, we don’t have a clear picture on his availability.”

Should Kohli, who suffered a shoulder injury during the third Test against Australia in Ranchi, indeed miss a couple of games, A.B. de Villiers will likely fill in as captain of RCB. “The likely scenario is that A.B. de Villiers will take over the duties but we’ll answer that once we find out if Virat is out,” Vettori said. “Fortunately, we have a number of exceptional batsmen who haven’t got many playing chances like Sarfaraz Khan and Mandeep Singh. They can fill in (for Kohli).”

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Kohli and K.L. Rahul will both arrive on the back of a long home season with India, which began with the first Test against New Zealand in September. Kohli has played 12 Tests in that period, and Rahul nine, but Vettori was not worried about fatigue, mental or physical. “They are accustomed to this,” he said. “Virat has played for the country for so long so he’s familiar with the rigours of the international schedule and then coming to play the IPL. Yet, he still performs well like we saw last year. KL (Rahul) too was part of the Test squad in the past (before this IPL). The most important thing is that they are fit and prepared for this. If we give them small mental breaks now and then, (it will be enough). Physically, I think they will be fine.”

RCB will begin its IPL campaign against SRH—in a repeat of last year's final—in Hyderabad on Wednesday. It is the first of 10 games the Bengaluru side will play in April, a schedule that will not allow it to feel its way into the tournament. “We always have a habit of starting slowly... (and we want to change that this time),” Vettori stated. “(Our squad) is an improvement from last year. New ball bowling will be assisted by Tymal Mills and Aniket Choudhary. We have a strong batting line-up anyway and confident bowlers now.

Vettori was also confident the rivalries from the ill-tempered series between India and Australia would not spill over, in RCB's case, into the IPL. “The ability to compartmentalize international cricket and franchise cricket is something players get used to,” he said. “So I don't think it'll affect the series at all.”

Tymal Mills at a practice session in Bengaluru on Thursday.   -  PTI

 

Preparations begin

Chris Gayle, Tymal Mills and Shane Watson were among the key overseas players in action as Royal Challengers Bangalore began its preparations for the IPL at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Thursday. Yuzvendra Chahal, Iqbal Abdulla, Stuart Binny, Sarfaraz Khan, S. Arvind and Harshal Patel were among the Indian faces training in the nets at the KSCA 'B' ground.

Australian fast bowler Billy Stanlake was expected to arrive late on Thursday, and Adam Milne on Friday. A.B. de Villiers and Tabraiz Shamsi will arrive after Friday's final in the Momentum Cup, South Africa's domestic 50-over tournament, where the pair is playing for Titans. Travis Head, who scored an unbeaten century for South Australia in the Sheffield Shield final, is due to land on Sunday. Leg-spinner Samuel Badree is part of the West Indies squad for home series against Pakistan, and will fly out after the final T20. He is scheduled to join the RCB side in Hyderabad on the morning of the season opener.