Somebody walked up to me this week in Bengaluru and said the top three RCB batsmen remind him of the three strikers playing for Barcelona. “It’s pure pleasure watching Messi, Suarez and Neymar when they shine for Barca,” he said, “and the cricketing equivalent of three top players in the same team is Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and you filling the top three places in the RCB batting order.”
I thanked him, but I was embarrassed by the comparison with the superstar footballers. In truth, we are only three members of the RCB squad, which is determined to realise to its potential in IPL 9. In reality, we won’t get far without the support of our teammates. We will stand or fall as a group; and, as a group, we started well with a win over the Sunrisers Hyderabad, but there’s a long, long way to go.
It has been a massive privilege for me to play alongside Chris and Virat in the past few seasons at RCB. There is no rivalry among us. We work together, encouraging and being encouraged, urging and being urged, feeding off each other’s knowledge and experience to ensure the best possible team performance on the field.
The two are very different.
Virat is one of the world’s greatest batsmen, combining an unmatched ability to dispatch the ball with pin-point accuracy with exceptional running between the wickets; there is nobody in the game with the same talent for finding the spaces in the field.
Chris is another of the world’s greatest batsmen, the master of the power game. He reads the game unbelievably well and is quick to assess any weakness in the bowler. He will patiently wait for the right moment to pounce but, when he does, he will send the ball to all corners of any field.
I enjoy every minute spent watching Virat and Chris go about their business, ideally from the non-striker’s end. It’s also great to see Shane Watson playing for RCB. I am in awe of the Australian’s bowling ability. It will be tough but we must RCB-elieve.
(The writer is a Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman)