If people think this is a game, or a format where things happen very quickly — they're right… and they’re wrong.
In terms of strategy, you have to think on your feet. No matter how much you plan, whatever tactics you decide in pre-game sessions, the pace of a T20 game is such that you have to strategise on the field, make snap decisions based on real time situations on which combination you’re going with or which bowler needs to come on. You then hope they pay off because you don’t really have second chances.
It happens very quickly — even though it’s not about going out there and going bang, bang, bang. But yet again, given the format of the Indian Premier League, with 60 games in toto, things also don’t happen all that quickly. It’s a really long tournament! This is exemplified by our own example last year.
Till about midway through Season II, no one gave us a chance — everyone thought the Royal Challengers would go the way of the first season, which was really the season from hell, in terms of how it panned out. But slowly, we took off, paced it out beautifully, built up the momentum — so much so that we made it to the final.
And that’s what it’s all really about — how you handle the momentum. This year, as we’re playing games basically every alternate day for the first two weeks, it would be good to get that momentum going straightaway. We’ll have to. The trick will be to remember that unlike last year, in South Africa, the conditions will be totally different in terms of wickets.
They will lean towards being more batsmen friendly, so logically, the teams that bowl well will have the upper hand. Again, as a bowling captain, you’d have to make things happen.
As a batting captain, you need to make the best use of the first six overs, when the field restrictions are in place. In South Africa, it was more about making sure you had wickets left over 20 overs. That’s still there but you need a platform early on from your top order here. That’s vital.
On a different note, welcome to another season of the IPL. It’s nice to be home. This could be a critical, coming of age season for the IPL because finally, teams, players, everyone involved has an idea of how this works, what it takes. Whatever anyone says, there are no real favourites, which makes it much more competitive. But I’m going to add here that we, the RCB, are going to try and take it all the way this time. And I hope we have fun getting there.