Royal Challengers Bangalore’s constant chopping and changing – of not only the personnel but also the roles of the players within the XI – has come in sharp focus after the side’s four losses in their first four matches in this IPL. Shimron Hetmyer, for example, has had these roles in his first four matches in the IPL: middle order, dropped, opener, middle order. That has an effect on everybody’s role in the XI.
However, it can also be argued that good results bring about consistency in the XI and the player roles, and not the other way around. Virat Kohli, their captain, was asked after the game against Rajasthan Royals what was more important: a consistent XI or changes until the right combination is found. Kohli didn’t commit either way, but hinted he needed to keep making changes to start winning matches.
“This tournament is not that long,” Kohli said. “It’s not going to go on for months. This is a month-and-a-half or a couple of months maximum. You have to be on the eight ball. You have to think on your feet. You have to think of the best possible combination going forward. We will definitely sit down and consider talking about what we can do. What can we do to get the balance right.
“Hopefully get some fresh guys in and they can make some cracking match-winning performances for us and get the team going. That’s an important factor: to think on our feet. Not necessarily worry about the other stuff. Just focus on the best XI we can take on the park and be competitive every game.”
Kohli spoke of the importance of keeping their spirits up and taking some confidence from being more competitive in their defeat to Royals than in the total capitulation against Sunrisers Hyderabad. He said they might have missed a few catches because the fielders might be down on confidence.
“In a tournament like the IPL, when the team doesn’t have any momentum, things can get difficult,” Kohli said. “The guys can get a little tight in the field. Bodies can get stiff. A bit of nervousness as well. Look we have to consider everything. The team hasn’t got off to a great start. These things [dropped catches] look really bad when they happen in this sort of phase for a team.
“We have 10 games to go. If we start turning things around pretty soon, then we can get on a roll as well. We have to keep believing as a side. Just four games in, we would have liked one result our way if not two. The Mumbai game and this one, I thought we played well. We just didn’t grab onto our chances, we will like to improve our performance and take a bit of confidence that we were a bit more competitive than the last game.”
Kohli said the batsmen left the bowlers too much to do by putting up just 158. “Obviously with the bat we were 15-20 short in the end,” Kohli said. “Marcus [Stoinis] and Moeen [Ali] sort of got us to 160, which was competitive, but with the dew factor, I think 15 runs more would have been very challenging. As you saw in the later half, the wicket got slower to bat on and it wasn’t easy to get boundaries away. A few chances came our way as well, which we failed to grab on to. If we make that many mistakes in a game that should have been tight enough, we were going to end up on the losing side, which is exactly what happened.” (ESPNCricinfo)