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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 17/04/2014
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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Captain feels delhi daredevils skipper pietersen?s absence due to injury will be an advantage for bangalore

virat kohli all set to lead royal challengers bangalore in ipl season seven. —kt photos by rahul gajjar

yuvraj singh used to be one of the most destructive batsmen in twenty20 cricket but the indian all-rounder’s performance in the recently concluded icc twenty20 world cup in bangladesh wasn’t promising.

royal challengers bangalore bought yuvi for rs 14 crore in the ipl auction and the punjab batsman would be eager to prove his critics wrong when his team take on delhi daredevils in sharjah on thursday. his captain virat kohli is confident that yuvraj who guided india to two world cup triumphs in the past would help rcb clinch the ipl title this time.

“yuvraj is very excited to go out there and perform for rcb this season and like he has been so many times in the past for india i feel he is gonna to be the x factor for rcb” kohli told reporters after a practice session at the icc academy ground here on wednesday.

“he is very happy playing for rcb. he is very happy with the kind of environment in the squad. i think the aim of rcb has been to create a sort of environment where players can thrive and be at their best. so he is thoroughly loving it. we have a great support staff as well very understanding people. it is very nice to have that relaxed environment and he is very happy being a part of this set up and i have spoken to him personally as well” he said.

when asked whether the absence of delhi captain kevin pietersen due to a finger injury would help his team in the opener kohli said: “obviously he is a very dangerous player. i won’t say it is a great thing that he is not playing and he is injured. but it would be an advantage for us that he won’t be playing tomorrow because we know how destructive he can be. i am sure he will be very eager to step on to the field and put in strong performances for delhi. it is an advantage but we cannot count out other players of delhi. we want to take everyone very seriously.”

bangalore have some destructive batsmen including kohli chris gayle ab de villiers and yuvarj but have a relatively weak bowling line-up. but the captain is confident that rcb have a balanced side.

“we have got a great combination of bowlers. we have got good spinners and good fast bowlers. (ashok) dinda varun aaron abu nechim harshal patel — two of them have played for india and the other two have done really well in first clascricket and ipl in the past season. besides mitchell starc and ravi rampaul are there… so we have a great set of bowlers. among the spinners we also have muralitharan. obviously he is a legend. he is still bowling the same way he used to be in the past. the squad is looking really nice.” he also said the strengthening of batting line-up would ease the pressure of the top three batsmen.

“we used to rely on the top three mostly while batting in the previous seasons but the good thing is that we have yuvraj in the middle order and albie morkel as well. so that is a huge bonus for us. the batting looks stronger and i am personally happy with it because that way you can go out there and be relaxed and express yourself rather than playing under pressure in every game that you play. so it is very good as far as the team is concerned that we have a good balance this year.

while assessing the conditions of pitches in the uae and his team’s prospects in the new season the skipper said: “i think the conditions are pretty similar to what we have in india. it is a new phase for rcb. only a few players from last year are in the team and there are a lot of new faces. we are really excited to have all these new players in the team and everyone is really talented and i am really looking forward. i have a strong feeling that we will do really well this season. i hope that we go a few steps further and get to the semis and probably look to win the ipl. but one step at a time and the prospects are very exciting from what i have seen in the squad. they are a nice bunch of boys and everyone is hardworking and eager to perform. so it is very exciting being the captain.”

on his team’s preparations for their opening encounter he said: “the preparation particularly has been focused on what we have to do tomorrow and not too much emphasis on the other team or who is going to play for them or what the other team is going to do. we want to sit and think about what are their strengths and weaknesses but you don’t want to focus on them too much. the focus has been to improve our unity. it is very important in ipl to get together as a team because as i said there are lot of new players. they haven’t played for rcb before but the guys have gelled pretty quickly and it is a relaxed environment. so everyone is really comfortable and we can see that in practice as well. everyone is enjoying themselves which is very important. it looks very exciting and building up to the game tomorrow. hopefully we will be right up there on the mark straight away.”


Khaleej Times

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