Virat will shrug off IPL blues, feels Donald

“Virat is one of those players who would pick himself up and look forward. He is a fighter. He is a strong man, a strong character and a great leader,” Donald tells Sportstar in an exclusive interview.

Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore is reeling at the bottom of the IPL table following a series of losses.   -  AFP

The disappointment was showing on Virat Kohli’s face as his side succumbed to another defeat in the Indian Premier League.

This time against the Mumbai Indians!

The tenth edition of the star-studded league has seen tournament favourite Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) going through a poor patch—losing eight of its matches so far and reeling at the bottom of the table.

But that’s not how the cricketing fraternity expected the Virat Kohli-led side to perform. With some of the biggest names in world cricket in its ranks, the RCB comes as a tournament favourite every season, only to return back empty-handed. There has been no exception this time either.

While there could be many reasons that led to the debacle, former South Africa pacer and erstwhile bowling coach of RCB, Allan Donald, believes that in a fast-paced tournament like the IPL, it is difficult to point fingers at one particular reason.

“IPL is a dangerous place if you are struggling with form. If you are struggling individually that’s one thing. But if you are struggling as a team then that’s infectious.”

“It is very hard to put fingers on what had gone wrong with Royal Challengers Bangalore. IPL is a dangerous place if you are struggling with form,” Donald tells Sportstar during an exclusive interview from Colombo on Wednesday morning.

“If you are struggling individually that’s one thing. But if you are struggling as a team then that’s infectious,” is how Donald explains the situation.

The South African pace ace, who took charge as Sri Lanka’s fast bowling coach for the Champions Trophy on Tuesday, sounds a bit puzzled as he speaks about his former wards. “Last season, we struggled with our bowling. This time, the bowling is stacked up well with some good buys, but the batsmen are faltering. I really don’t know what’s going wrong with them,” Donald says.

Allan Donald (left) was associated with the Royal Challengers Bangalore for a couple of seasons. The side reached the IPL final last season, under the leadership of Virat Kohli.   -  Sportzpics

 

However, he makes it a point to raise a finger towards the overwhelming expectations. “It has got a star-studded line-up, and is one of the best teams. And even then, it is not performing. May be, overwhelming expectation is one of the reasons.

But if you are a professional player, you must learn how to perform under pressure,” Donald says.

As he speaks, the South African great walks down memory lane—of his season with the RCB a couple of years back. “RCB has some amazing players on the planet in one team, and even then, things aren’t working well. I had a similar experience during my first series with the RCB,” he says, adding that with Kohli leading from the front, RCB reached the heights last season.

“Last year, we had great success. The way Virat Kohli played last year…,” he takes a pause, and then continues: “Wow! Can you ever get such form from the batsman again? I don’t know what happened this time. His form is pretty opposite,” he chuckles.

Having served the side for a couple of seasons, Donald is saddened by its form. “I think this is because of the overwhelming expectation. It is sad to see such a good team performing this way…”

They say a wounded lion is twice dangerous. And, knowing the India captain from close quarters, Donald has no doubts that Kohli would shrug off the IPL blues soon. “Virat is one of those players who would pick himself up and look forward. He is a fighter. He is a strong man, a strong character and a great leader. I have no doubt that he will come back in a great way in the Champions Trophy,” Donald says, about his former ward’s chances in the ICC event, starting next month.

Even as he gets down to business when the Sri Lankan bowling camp begins in Colombo on Thursday, Donald will make it a point to keep a tab on his old boys at RCB, and would expect them to sign off on a winning note.

That’s the silver lining; cricket’s ‘White Lightning’ is looking forward to!

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