x

Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 June 2018

Gary Kirsten defends Virat Kohli as captain 'takes a lot on himself' for RCB's IPL struggles

Batsman and skipper has come under pressure with the Bangalore team in seventh place having lost seven of their 10 games

Gary Kirsten was at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi to sign a two-year deal Gary Kirsten Cricket and Abu Dhabi Cricket. Pawan Singh / The National
Gary Kirsten was at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi to sign a two-year deal Gary Kirsten Cricket and Abu Dhabi Cricket. Pawan Singh / The National

Royal Challenger Bangalore batting coach Gary Kirsten has defended beleaguered captain Virat Kohli following the team’s poor performance in the Indian Premier League (IPL) this season.

RCB have lost seven of their 10 games so far and are seventh in the eight-team table with four games left. They need to win all their remaining fixtures, and hope for some favourable results elsewhere, to have any chance of progressing to the last four stage.

“I think [Kohli] takes a lot on himself and puts a lot on his plate, which I think is unfair,” said Kirsten, who flew to Abu Dhabi to sign a two-year coaching contract between his Gary Kirsten Cricket academy and Abu Dhabi Cricket on Tuesday.

______________

Read more:

In Virat Kohli's absence Ajinkya Rahane to lead India against Afghanistan

Niall O’Brien full of belief as Ireland make long-awaited Test debut against Pakistan

Cricket Australia scraps day-night Test against India after BCCI refusal

______________

“It is a team sport and he can’t win every game on his own. It does put pressure on him. IPL is a very intense tournament and there is lot at stake around winning and losing, and the players feel the pressure. I think he feels it more.”

Kirsten insisted the team have tried to take some of the pressure off Kohli and South African batsman AB de Villiers.

“We played 10, won three and lost seven, and it’s not a great record,” said the former South Africa opener and World Cup winning coach of India.

“We have got really good players and every uphill side have a good team. It is a tough tournament and if you start losing games very quickly you can lose momentum, and then it becomes very difficult to win a game.”

RCB lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad on Monday after failing to chase down a 146-run total, and Kirsten believes with the bating line-up they possess, it was an opportunity missed.

“I would have thought we could have chased down that target nine out of 10 times,” he said. “We were 55-1 after six overs, not even a 100 to get and you feel you will get that score.

“Pressure does funny things to people especially when you are not winning the games, it makes it even tougher. We just have to keep going and we have to quality players but we need to get into a winning momentum.”

The IPL is notoriously competitive and unpredictable, and Kirsten said that one thing he had learnt is not to predict a winner in cricket, but believes Chennai Super Kings look good for this year’s title.

“CSK are probably the form team at the moment,” he said. “I’m not surprised with the form of MS Dhoni as he can do amazing things on the field. But funny things can happen in the knockout stage so you can’t say who will go all the way.”

Kirsten also welcomed Kohli’s decision to sign for English County club Surrey for a month ahead of India’s tour of England in July.

“It’s a smart move,” he said. “To get acclimatised to the conditions even though he has three years more experience now from the last tour.

“England will be a different kettle of fish at home for India. They will swing the ball. If they can overcome that then potentially they will have a good tournament.”

On South Africa’s chances in the World Cup, Kirsten claimed they do the right things every time but came short every time.

“Perhaps, they should do the wrong things in the build-up and get the luck in the tournament because I believe they will have a great team for the World Cup,” he said.

“I have always maintained you make your own luck. Teams that are losing are often unlucky and teams that win don’t talk about luck.

“It is amazing that South Africa has a unique record and has been unbeaten away from home for eight years but no one ever talks about that because you don’t get a trophy for that.”