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With Yuvraj Singh back in the scintillating form that he’s in, the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s strength as a team has risen multiple notches – a handy time to impress your domination when you have to win all your remaining league matches to make it to the top four.
Ahead of their big game against Chennai Super Kings, in Ranchi, RCB batting and fielding coach, Trent Woodhill spoke of the batsmen he works with at RCB, especially Yuvraj, who has answered the critics with his bat with scores of 83 and 68*.
“You cannot demand success off somebody; you’ve got to put them in an environment where they feel comfortable to succeed,” Woodhill said when asked how he deals with lack of runs from the likes of Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli.
“Chris has come out of an injury and he’s still finding his way back, although we have seen flashes of brilliance from him. We’re hoping that in the last four games, we see the Chris Gayle of the last year. Virat is so passionate; it’s been a pleasure working with him. With him, it’s almost just the case of making sure that he stays calm.”
“Yuvraj was coming back from an adverse year or so and he has shown Indian Cricket that he is well and truly back. There’s no one in the competition who can bat the way he batted the other night. With guys like Yuvraj it’s just about reminding them what they are capable of. And that doesn’t have to happen in the nets. That can be over a coffee or taking a walk. It’s just about letting him know that I am asking him to do only that what he is capable of doing, nothing more.
When asked if the presence of ace bowlers like Muttiah Muralitharan and Daniel Vettori helps him as a batting coach, Woodhill said, “Having those two helps in general – great people and they’re also still bowling well. Dan still likes to bowl in the nets and it’s impossible to take the ball out of Muralitharan’s hand.”
Speaking about the strength of their opposition for tomorrow, Woodhill listed out the challenges that RCB are likely to face against CSK. “Every game is a semi-final now, but right now, we’re focused only on CSK, who are one of the best teams in the competition. They’re experienced, well groomed and they’re the best fielding side. McCullum and Smith have gotten them off to great starts and in Ashwin and Jadeja they’ve got two spinners who can control the game well. These guys are our biggest challenges.”
Another challenge for RCB will be getting their bowling right, something they have struggled to do since the India leg of Pepsi IPL 2014 has started.
“With every game that goes by, the tournament heats up and the pressure builds. There’s certainly more pressure on us that there was in the UAE and the bowlers are feeling it,” Woodhill said. “I thought in the UAE we were brilliant in the field in the last four overs. Since we’ve got here, we haven’t been as good in that part of the game and that’s because the players have gotten emotionally involved in the situation.”
With two back-to-back losses at home, the Sunrisers Hyderabad would be looking to turn the fortunes in their favour when they meet the Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday. Sunrisers coach Tom Moody highlighted the importance of the game as he said, “Both teams know what is at stake. From our point of view, it is exciting to have the opportunity to still be in the contest, even though we feel that we have let two opportunities slip in the last two games. The destiny is in our own hands.”
The Sunrisers are believed to have one of the best bowling attacks in the competition, but it is this very bowling attack that failed to defend a score of 200-plus in their previous game, against the Kings XI Punjab. Their ace bowler, Dale Steyn, has not been as economical as expected. But Moody backed his ace pacer to come good soon. “Dale had a disappointing outing in the last game and so did every other person who grabbed the ball. He cannot carry the attack every single time in the middle. I think if there are a couple of games that go his way, then he will end up being the Man of the Match. I am not concerned about his form. We are aware that he is a world-class fast bowler and he will step up in the crunch games.”
On the batting front, their captain, Shikhar Dhawan, has not had a prolific season thus far. Shikhar has got starts, including a couple of 30s and 40s, but has failed to go on and get a big score. Moody though believes Dhawan has been unlucky. “Shikhar played well in the last game and this is the third time in the tournament that he has got out at short fine-leg, which is probably considered an unlucky dismissal. He was unlucky in the last match as his rhythm was flowing beautifully and his timing was there. He is the one who really set the momentum for us last game.”
There has also been much talk about Parvez Rasool’s inclusion in the playing XI for the Sunrisers. The off-spinner is yet to get a game this IPL, but Moody had his own reasons behind Rasool’s exclusion as he said, “Parvez has been sick for the last four days. He has not been considered for selection because he has been unwell with fever. He had a light session today, but he is probably a day or so away from being considered for selection. If we do consider playing him, it would mean we would be playing with three specialist spinners, and we have to have the right conditions to consider that combination. That may well be the last game in Kolkata. At the moment, we are looking at the right combination against the Knight Riders. Their team is structured in a certain way, but we need to consider all options.”