Royal Challengers Bangalore coach Gary Kirsten spoke about the need for “structural changes” in the set-up while maintaining “continuity” but the bigger question remains whether the former India coach will remain at the helm after two dismal IPL seasons. Under Kirsten’s stewardship, RCB for the second time in two years have failed to make it to the playoffs. Somehow India’s World Cup-winning former coach have not been able to crack the IPL code as he had similar disastrous seasons with Delhi Daredevils also. That makes it four IPL seasons where a team has failed to reach the playoffs under his coaching.
While the RCB management have not spoken about Kirsten’s future but it will not be short of a surprise if he manages to hold on to the coach’s post in the 13th edition in 2020. “I have been a fan of continuity. You want to build the core of players and culture and keep coming back to the same players. I think most successful franchises in IPL have done that and we are searching for that in RCB. There might be a structural change next year,” Kirsten told reporters on the eve of RCB’s final game against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
If RCB loses, they will have to bear the ignominy of last-placed finish. Kirsten said franchises that do a lot of chopping and changing every year, run into problems. “I am hopeful and confident that we stick to the continuity of players because we need to really start building the core of players we believe in and back. Franchises that do a lot of chopping and changing every year, run into problems because IPL is not about an individual performing every IPL, it will just not happen, but if you keep backing the guys they can come good for you in one season,” he said.
Replying to a query, Kirsten said some structural changes need to be made in consultation with the owners as he is in a better position to do so as the head coach of the team. “It is not difficult to iron out the areas we struggled with,” he added. Kirsten also said a team has to hide their weaknesses and make sure their strengths are working well, if not they are losing games, which makes a world of difference. He said losing games at the hands of Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders early on at Chinnaswamy, cost RCB’s chances of making into the playoffs.
“Two big games against Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders cost us. These games we should have won. If those kinds of games you are not winning, it is going to affect us because we know IPL is incredibly predictable and games you should be winning, you need to win,” he said. Replying to a query, Kirsten said RCB missed services of three to four players, and one of the toughest things to deal with was the absence of Australian fast bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile.
“We are missing three to four players. One of the toughest things we have to deal with this season is our international fast bowler never arrived – Nathan Coulter-Nile,” he said. Kirsten, however, said they are going into the field to win the match tomorrow against Sunrisers Hyderabad. Replying to a query, Kirsten said he enjoyed working with new coaches on board. Asked to comment on Virat Kohli asking his players to go out and enjoy the remaining game, Kirsten said: “My view is, you have fun when you are winning. So we understand the point he is making, but I think it is always going to be tough if you are not winning games.”
All players, both seniors, and newcomers, feel the pressure, and hence it is needed of them to understand the knack of preparing for intense T20 tournament as the IPL, he said. Replying to a query, Kirsten said it has been a disappointing season for RCB, since they could manage just two points in the first half, from where it became really difficult for them to pull things back. “This has been a disappointing season. We would like to have had better results. We could manage only two points in the first half (first seven games). We started to get things going our way in the second half, but unfortunately in IPL you have a bad start, you are always going to be struggling and winning seven out of seven,” he said.
Kirsten said the team has struggled in certain areas and they would like to work on those specific areas next year.