- Ashish Nehra who retired from international cricket last year is currently the bowling coach of RCB
- The former Indian seamer believes that RCB bowling line-up is among the best in the league
- Apart from Umesh Yadav, no RCB bowler has picked more than 8 wickets after the first 10 games
Royal Challengers Bangalore have endured a nightmare IPL 2018 campaign till now. Virat Kohli and his team have managed just 3 wins out of their first 10 matches and are yet to win two consecutive matches in this season. The franchise allowed key players like Chris Gayle, Shane Watson and KL Rahul to go prior to this season, which has clearly left a hole in the team. Although, they did strengthen their bowling department hugely in the January auction, bringing in the likes of Umesh Yadav, Chris Woakes, Mohammed Siraj and Washington Sundar. The management at RCB also brought in recently retired Indian bowler Ashish Nehra as the bowling coach of the team and even though the performance has been far from ideal, the 39-year-old believes that the bowling contingent at Bangalore is among the best in the league.
The plan was to pick players according to the conditions in Bengaluru
Speaking to ESPNcricinfo prior to RCB’s 9th match of the season which was against CSK, Nehra elaborated on the strengths of his bowling line-up, his strategy in the auction and how he as coach guides them in dealing with match pressure situations in a better manner. “You pick your team according to the home ground, where you play 50% of your matches. On this ground, you need bowlers who have pace – 140kph-plus, hit-the-deck bowlers. That is why I went for Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini – all 140kph-plus bowlers. Then we have [Yuzvendra] Chahal and Washington [Sundar] – both spinners are playing for India in this format. You have Chris Woakes, who is an allrounder. I don’t think you can have a better bowling unit than this,” said Nehra while explaining the management thinking at the auction.
Apart from getting in some experienced international players into the RCB squad, Nehra and the management were also successful in signing players like Aniket Choudhary, Kulwant Khejroliya and Murugan Ashwin, which gives the bowling line-up a great deal of depth too, something that is hugely important in a compressed tournament like the IPL 2018.
Elaborating further on this Nehra said,”We also have Kulwant Khejroliya and Aniket Choudhary. So all together, we have plenty of options. The only team [as good or better] than us is Sunrisers Hyderabad, who have a good bowling attack, especially the Indians.”
Very easy to criticise a bowler in a T20 match
Despite all the planning and strategising, Royal Challengers Bangalore’s bowling line-up has been far from consistent, only Umesh Yadav has looked threatening for an extended stretch of time otherwise, it been a disappointing season for most of the RCB players. Speaking about the pressures of the game, Nehra said, “It is very easy in this format to criticise a bowler or a batsman after a few games. Bowlers are always under pressure. For me, if the fast bowlers can perform in 50% of the matches then you are winning the battle. I need to give the guys the mental support. This bowling unit has all the ingredients.”
Royal Challengers Bangalore are currently in New Delhi preparing for their encounter against Delhi Daredevils on 12th May. The team mathematically still has a chance to qualify for the playoffs but for that, they will need to win all their remaining matches and hope that the other results also go their way.
WATCH: Breakfast with Champions with Ashish Nehra