IPL 2021: Virat Kohli’s announcement didn’t distract RCB but we were not sharp as batting unit: Hesson

So was it a case of the team getting distracted by that big statement by Kohli, who has been their captain since 2013?

“I don’t think so. It was important to get any form of distraction out of the way early and we spoke about making that announcement as soon as possible so all players were aware of it.

“It certainly hasn’t had an impact on our performance. We weren’t as sharp as we needed to be with the bat, we didn’t adapt to conditions, we lost wickets in clumps – everything that you can’t do as a batting group. But I’m still confident in this group that we’ll turn it around quickly,” said RCB coach Mike Hesson in a virtual press conference.

Hesson also stressed that the RCB will go ahead with their opening combo of Kohli and Devdutt Padikkal in the IPL 2021.

“Certainly, there was a discussion but we were pretty clear in terms of Virat batting at the top, even during the last campaign here in Dubai a year ago. It’s a lot harder to start against spin, potentially coming out at three and if the wicket starts deteriorating. We’re pretty happy with Dev and Virat opening the batting for us,” said Hesson.

Hesson asserted that the pitch has nothing to do with RCB’s implosion and said it was not a 92-run kind of wicket.

“We got ourselves to 1 for 41. Even going back further than that, we got the toss wrong. We scrapped to 1 for 41… certainly it wasn’t a 92 wicket, but to get rolled for 92 there – we should have found a way to get ourselves to 150.

Whether that would be enough or not would be debatable as well because the ball started to slide on in the second innings. All in all, we weren’t sharp enough with the bat.”

As against their general trend, RCB played KS Bharat as wicketkeeper batsman and freed AB de Villiers from the duty behind the wicket. Hesson indicated that the team might stick to that strategy for some more time.

”I think you saw AB de Villiers didn’t have the gloves. We’ve got to look after AB. He’s a very important player for us and not one that we can risk at the moment behind the stumps.

“That was unfortunate for Rajat (Patidar), that we had to pick a wicketkeeper to bat No 3. And to be fair to KS Bharat, he’s been outstanding in the camp leading up to this game. Certainly, deserved his inclusion. And in terms of Sachin Baby – we wanted to have a real batsman at six.

“We had the ability to still have six bowlers, and once again Sachin is a left-hander and gave us options with the ball if we needed as well. So that was the reason – with AB not keeping, we needed to make that change at the top.”

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