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April 7, 2011
Royal Challengers Bangalore coach Ray Jennings is determined to push his team to IPL glory this year. Jennings took charge of Bangalore after their forgettable first season and oversaw a remarkable turnaround in the next two editions. Bangalore reached the final in 2009 and finished third in 2010, in the process qualifying for the Champions League in both years. But this time, armed with a new-look team, Jennings has his focus set firmly on the winner's medal.
"Our goal is to win the IPL," Jennings was quoted in the team's website. "We have the new flavour. That's our USP this season. Though we are all professionals, the human touch within the team that makes us unique. When you have players like AB de Villiers, Dirk Nannes, Daniel Vettori, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Virat Kohli, there is so much respect within the team for each other. They know how to respect others so they receive more from the other members."
Kohli was the only player Bangalore retained ahead of the auction, and Jennings reiterated the faith the franchise has placed on the young batsman. "Kohli will be the number one player in India, batting-wise, after five years," Jennings said. "He will also lead India one day. He is still young at the international level and it is better to wait for a few years before we make him the captain."
Anil Kumble, who led the team through its resurgence in 2009 and 2010 is not playing this time, but will continue his association with the team as a mentor. Jennings was pleased to have Kumble on board, given the success the two enjoyed together. "The boss [Vijay Mallya] is a big-time player," Jennings said. "He knows what decisions to make. He knows Kumble and my working relationship has been successful. He knows we have put the team on the map and that's why Kumble is now the chief mentor of the team."
Daniel Vettori, who has been appointed as the captain for the new season, echoed Jennings' opinion on Kumble's role in the side. "Anil's presence is really important for me," Vettori told the Hindu. "He has led this team extremely well in the past. His knowledge of the conditions, the team, players and his overall expertise of the game is exceptional. From a personal point of view and team's point of view, Anil's presence will be immensely beneficial."
Vettori is one of four big players who have moved from the Delhi franchise to Bangalore, which he believes would contribute to the familiarity within the side. "[Tillakaratne] Dilshan, AB [de Villiers] and [Dirk] Nannes have been around with me for three years, and so it will be a bit comfortable for us as a group to come and be part of the new environment."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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