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Indian Premier League 2020

‘Backed the wrong players’ – Former RCB coach on Kohli’s failure to win IPL trophy

by Wisden Staff 2-minute read

Ray Jennings, the former Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) coach, has spoken of the franchise’s failure to win an IPL title so far, saying captain Virat Kohli had at times “back the wrong players”.

Kohli is India’s most successful Test captain, with 33 wins in 55 matches as captain, but his glory-filled international career is jarred by his time at the IPL with RCB. He’s been with the franchise since the IPL’s inaugural edition in 2008, captaining them full-time from 2013, but despite making the finals thrice, they’re infamously yet to win the title.

Jennings, who coached RCB from 2009 to 2014, revealed Kohli as captain backed players that weren’t in Jennings’s plans. “If I have to look back, then I would say that in IPL there used to be 25-30 players (in the squad) and it was the coach’s duty to look after all the players,” Jennings told Cricket.com.

“Sometimes he was a bit of a loner in the team. Sometimes, he backed the wrong players. But, you can’t blame him for that. I wanted certain players to bowl or bat in certain conditions, situations but he had different ideas.

“See, the IPL is very different from international cricket. In six weeks, some players can pick form and some may go awry. So, someone in the group needs to be there all the time. When I was there, certain players should have played more, but he has different views. However, that is in the past and it’s nice to see him maturing day by day, and he will start winning IPL trophies.”

That said, Jennings said Kohli had a great “cricket brain” and said he’d win the IPL soon. “We shouldn’t forget IPL is a game of small margins,” he said. “He has made it to the semi-finals (playoffs) and final, and he will definitely achieve a lot more success in the coming years. Sometimes, criticism is that he doesn’t enjoy time with the players. But I can understand that since a captain has a lot on his plate.

“Virat Kohli has always been an unbelievable cricket brain. He sets very high standards [for himself] and we went along despite one or two problems. You needed somebody around Virat to guide him [at that point in time].

“Of course, he and I bumped a few times but he is a good guy and a very quick learner. Nice to see him grow as a player and now as a captain. His mannerism is great. His best is yet to come.”

RCB begin their IPL 2020 campaign against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Monday.

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