Vettori talks up Watson, Binny inclusions
Daniel Vettori, the head coach of Royal Challengers Bangalore, believes that the inclusion of new recruits Shane Watson and Stuart Binny in the XI has given his team "a real luxury" going into the 2016 IPL season. Royal Challengers are yet to win an IPL title - they made the final in 2009 and 2011 - but Vettori feels the franchise has finally gotten the balance right to go all the way.
"Last year we did lots of things really well but the likes of [Shane] Watson and [Stuart] Binny gives us a really balanced squad," Vettori said. "To have those guys that have the ability to bat in the top order and bowl four overs is a real luxury. You look at the teams that have been successful in the IPL so far -- Chennai Super Kings with the likes of Ravindra Jadeja, Suresh Raina and Dwayne Bravo and Kolkata Knight Riders as well have had them with Shakib Al Hasan. So we're banking on the fact that we have six or seven bowling options. As everyone knows, the Chinnaswamy is a tough place to bowl at so to give ourselves those options is very important."
Royal Challengers have a couple of injury concerns in the form of Samuel Badree, who hurt his shoulder in the World T20 final against England while taking a catch, and Mitchell Starc, whose participation is in doubt because of an ankle problem. Vettori, though, is confident that there are other players in the squad capable of stepping up when it matters.
"That [Starc] is something we're going to miss. It's difficult bowling at the Chinnaswamy and so whenever we had him in the team we knew we had those four overs up our sleeve. That's a loss but it's an opportunity for the likes of Adam Milne and Kane Richardson to step up and fill in that slot.
"We knew the quality Badree brings and his record is fantastic. We're just hoping he recovers from his shoulder injury and gets back to the team as soon as possible. He's in the air, back to Trinidad. That was always the plan. He'll see a specialist there and hopefully we'll get some feedback soon."
'We were treated like gods in Chennai' - Raina
Suresh Raina, the captain of Gujarat Lions, has spoken of the difficulty he faced moving away from the Chennai Super Kings "family". Raina, who is the leading run-scorer in IPL history with 3699 runs, spent eight years with Super Kings, but said he was equally excited to lead a new team that boasts the likes of Brendon McCullum, James Faulkner, Dwayne Bravo, Aaron Finch and Dwayne Smith.
"It has not been easy and it's not going to be easy on us (Super Kings players) anytime soon either," Raina told the Times of India. "No matter how much love you get in this new family, how can you let go of all the love you received over the last eight years from the Chennai family? The city had become a second home to all of us.
"We were superstars in Chennai and to understand what I'm saying, one had to be there to see it. It was almost like a different cult, a different religion and we were treated like gods.
"We're professional cricketers and we have to go about doing what we have to do. It is not just about how passionate the players have been about CSK. There's also the loyalty factor. We had that kind of a feeling wearing the [CSK] jersey. It makes us feel bad. It's not like players wouldn't like to play for say Gujarat or Mumbai but I wish there was a choice and we could decide."