Barring Virat, batters struggling for form and confidence: Andy Flower

PTI, Apr 7, 2024, 11:41 AM IST

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Notwithstanding Virat Kohli’s sparkling form, Royal Challenger Bengaluru batters are struggling for ”form and confidence”, said head coach Andy Flower following his team’s fourth loss in five games this IPL season.

Kohli (113) hit a superb hundred at the top but RCB could only manage a below-par 183 for three, a target which was overhauled by Rajasthan Royals, riding on a 58-ball 100 not out from Jos Buttler.

”We’re one from five and that’s not a position any side wants to be. Yes, we do have some issues with our batting. We got Virat in superb form but other guys are struggling for form and confidence,” Flower said during the post-match press conference on Saturday.

”We’re trying everything we can to make them feel strong and confident. As you’ve seen in this competition, scores and aggression of teams are only going one way. So the guys need all the form and confidence to put the opposition under pressure. We haven’t found that form yet.” Kohli smashed 12 fours and four sixes during his 72-ball unbeaten knock but apart from skipper Faf Du Plessis (44 from 33 balls; 2×4, 2×6), he did not get any support from the other batters.

”We do discuss strike rates and aggression, it’s part of the understanding of the T20 game. The level of aggression has to be above a certain threshold and you have to always be putting the opposition under pressure,” Flower said.

”Certainly taking the aggressive option, especially on pitches like today. It’s just a fact that at the moment that our top five aren’t in sparkling form except Virat. It’s a tough place to be.

”It’s not from lack of effort, they’re working hard, they’re giving everything they’ve got. Just not firing at the moment. If we’ve got to turn this around, we need them firing.”

It was a matter of time: Bond on Buttler’s comeback

It was a sensational comeback from England’s white-ball skipper Buttler, who had ended IPL 2023 with three successive ducks and scored a highest of 13 in his last three innings.

”Obviously delighted for Jos Buttler. You know we have been winning games without the opening partnerships but he and Yashasvi Jaiswal has been striking the ball very well in the nets. ”So it’s about time if one of them starts firing. It’s good to see Jos Buttler at his best and the boys came up with the win,” said Bond.

Talking about the contrasting hundreds by Kohli and Buttler, Bond said: ”You’ve got two of the best batters in the world. I mean, I always enjoy watching Virat bat, his technique and the way goes about his work…he’s such a great technician and fantastic player.

”Then you’ve got obviously the, the power and skill of Jos who scores in different areas and plays. So you got two very different types of players but both fantastic to watch.” Bond was also lavish in his praise for skipper Sanju Samson, who cracked a 42-ball 69.

”Sanju has been doing an excellent job, captaining the team. His communication is excellent and the bowling choices he has been making are spot on.” Bond also said that Navdeep Saini is close to returning to the squad.

”Lucky thing for us we have good depth in our team. I think we’re getting another Navdeep Saini back shortly from NCA, which is exciting for us, it adds a bit more depth than to our bowling stocks. Sandeep Sharma (niggle) is also not far away.”

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