Ray Jennings has been coaching Royal Challengers Bangalore since 2009. The lanky, serious-looking South African has seen a number of players come and go.
He has been through thick and thin and has taken all that has been thrown at him or presented to him with a smile. Nobody knows the squad better than him.
“We are lot stronger than we were in 2012 but in T20 anything can happen. We know that if (Chris) Gayle spends 100 balls at the wicket, we make big scores but if he gets out in the first ball we might lose the game. On paper the side is good, balanced and the whole unit is happy,” said Jennings.
“Happiness brings energy and energy brings commitment. That’s how I approach any job,” he said.
“But you have to be tough as a coach when you start. You can be lenient only after players begin to understand the rules and values of the team. If you ask players 10 times to do something and they don’t do it, you have a reaction. When you ask for the first time, you have a different reaction.
“Everyone is playing according to a plan. Cheteshwar Pujara, last year, really wasn’t part of the team and he has performed. His challenge is to now play the same quality cricket in the 20-over format as he does in Tests. Virat Kohli, the new captain, is in the top one or two in the world rankings, AB de Villiers is right up there, (Tillakaratne) Dilshan is coming off a hundred and Gayle has got runs. So as a unit the side is looking good from the batting point of view. As for the bowling, we have reinforced our attack during the auction. We got spinners as well with Murali Kartik coming in,” Jennings surmised.
“Pujara has a finger that is worrying him at the moment. He will be ready in one or two weeks’ time.
“Zaheer Khan will be ready to play in all the games. He will be a hundred per cent fit. They are all professionals and they want to make an impact.
“I think we will do pretty well this season with a very balanced team and options all around,” the coach said.