Gary Kirsten, Ashish Nehra signings by RCB signal intent for major IPL title push

Royal Challengers Bangalore, who have been the losing finalists in the Indian Premier League three times, have signed up Gary Kirsten and Ashish Nehra as batting and bowling coaches respectively.

cricket Updated: Jan 02, 2018 13:00 IST
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
IPL,Indian Premier League,Gary Kirsten
Gary Kirsten being chaired by Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli after India won the 2011 Cricket World Cup in Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium. Kirsten was head coach of the Indian cricket team led by MS Dhoni.(HT Photo)

In the build-up to the 2018 Indian Premier League auction, there is speculation regarding franchises and players. The question of which player will be snapped up by franchises is on everybody’s mind. Royal Challengers Bangalore, captained by Indian cricket team skipper Virat Kohli, has already gotten off to a blazing start with Gary Kirsten and Ashish Nehra being appointed batting and bowling coaches, respectively.

The addition of Gary Kirsten, who helped India win the 2011 World Cup and Nehra, who played under the South African but recently retired after an 18-year India career, is great for a franchise which has all the star power but have remained the eternal bridesmaid of the IPL.

Royal Challengers Bangalore’s heartbreak in the IPL is well documented. With names like Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, KL Rahul and Yuzvendra Chahal, one would have expected domination. Instead, they lost in three finals in 2009, 2011 and 2016 and bowed out in the knock-out stages in 2010, 2015. They ‘choked’ in crucial league games which hurt them.

Gary Kirsten has been head coach of the South African national cricket team in 2013. (Getty Images)

Nehra, Kirsten class

Gary Kirsten and Ashish Nehra’s inclusion is a step in covering all the bases in batting, pace and spin.

Kirsten has tremendous coaching pedigree. In addition to helping India to World Cup glory, he took South Africa to the top of the Test rankings in 2012. Kisrten is well-loved by players and fans. His equation with Virat Kohli has been wonderful, having described him as an “inspirational leader” and a “rare talent.”

Kirsten, however, is yet to prove himself in IPL. His stint with Delhi Daredevils did not produce the results one expected. In T20 cricket, a coach’s reputation can take beating but his pedigree can’t be denied.

Nehra, the bowling coach, is class personified when it death bowling in Twenty20s. He was the fourth-highest wicket-taker in the 2015 IPL with 22 wickets for Chennai Super Kings.

Ashish Nehra greeted by Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni after his retirement from all forms of cricket during the first T20 match against New Zealand at Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in New Delhi, on November 1, 2017. (PTI)

The left-armer has demonstrated tremendous mental toughness, a key factor for death overs bowling during his stint with India and several franchises. These traits are exactly what RCB need if they have to bolster their weak bowling

Climb up

Royal Challengers Bangalore has endured a turbulent couple of seasons, both on and off the field. On the field, the frustration of not winning the title continues to haunt them while off it, the issue concerning Vijay Mallya, chief mentor has led to distractions.

Vijay Mallya, leaves after an extradition hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court, in central London, Britain June 13, 2017. Mallya and his son Siddharth have been an integral part of RCB since 2008. (REUTERS)

Mallya, who fled India allegedly with outstanding debts of Rs 9,000 crore unpaid to a consortium of banks, led by SBI and is currently in London, is no longer directly associated with the team after he resigned from multiple posts in 2016.

Having touched rock bottom in 2017, one hopes Kirsten and Nehra help RCB shed the ‘chokers’ tag and finally break the jinx in 2018.

First Published: Jan 02, 2018 12:50 IST