Mallya feels test tag has been shed
Bangalore Royal Challengers owner Vijay Mallya said his team has gone through a complete makeover to shed their last year’s tag of a ‘lethargic Test’ side.
Mallya said Royal Challengers has made a motivational start to the Indian Premier League here with a crushing victory over defending champions Rajasthan Royals in the first match Saturday.
Royal Challengers, who finished seventh in the eight-team Twenty20 tournament in the inaugural edition, beat Rajasthan Royals by a record IPL margin of 75 runs.
Mallaya said that inclusion of Kevin Pietersen, Jesse Ryder and others have instilled fresh energy in the team.
“We have got a great start. It was motivational. There has been lot of value addition to the team this year. Kevin Pietersen can bowl, Jesse Ryder bowled in the last match and even Virat Kohli bowled today,” Mallya said during the Royal Challengers second match against Super Kings Monday.
“We realised that without team spirit we would not be effective at all. If you look at the performance of champions Rajasthan Royals last year, they had a very good team spirit and it was one of the of reasons of their victory.”
The liquor baron, who also owns Formula One team Force India, said that he asked coach Ray Jennings to give a complete make-over to the team.
“We were not only a Test team but pretty lethargic one at that. I told coach Ray Jennings that one of change I would like to see is a vibrant side, full of energy and he has produced that.”
Mallya, who bought Pietersen for a record IPL pay package of $1.55 million, was happy with the captaincy of the star English player.
“KP (Pietersen) is very special to me. He is worth every penny.”
Dravid, who was replaced with Pietersen as captain of the side after a bad year, was the star of Royal Chalengers win, bailing his team out of a difficult situation with a fine 66. Another old warhorse Anil Kumble took five wickets.
He praised the duo for showing way to the younger players.
“Dravid, (Sachin) Tendulkar and Kumble have proved people wrong who say that Test player cannot play T20 cricket. I think given the kind of wickets in South Africa, experience comes into play.”