The turnaround that RCB made after the inaugural IPL in India left many thinking how can a team that finished 2nd last in the pool can reverse the trend and finish 2nd from top. And considering that the biggest / costliest buy of RCB did not perform much and had to leave in the middle of the tournament even makes you wonder that the same team could achieve a feat that was not possible a year back.
For me most of the credit goes to our coach Ray Jennings who was bought in at a time when everyone had termed this team as a “Test team” of the T20 era. And as it was scripted to be, Ray had the opportunity to work with his side in his home conditions. Wow…a great blessing in disguise. Not that he would have done bad in Indian conditions. But it helps is some extent.
In the 2nd IPL edition, RCB started great guns demolishing the champions and then lost its way in the middle. From there on to win 5 consecutive matches to reach the final was one heck of an achievement. Imagine the pressure Ray would have been in the middle of the tournament and you know these format of sports are like business. You dont perform and you may be shown the door the next day. ROI matters here
You would have read in many reports and articles that Ray is a very tough person to work with but what we saw during the 10 days of stay with the team was completely different. Ray with his innovative coaching and management skills always possessed the unique ability to transform dead teams to champion material and we have witnessed it IPL2. One such example was taking Eastern province [in 2001], who were an almost nothing team, to winning the SuperSport series, the four-day championship, one of the most difficult competitions to win. He was one of the best wicket keeper batsman that SA produced but unfortunately it was all during the SA isolation period from Cricket.
His motivational videos are one such example. You must witness the reaction / body language of each player when these videos are played in the team meeting before the match. Each one of them he prepares is different and carries a very strong message. The one he made before the DD match had the title “Miracle day” and you all witnessed it.
He made us extremely comfortable with the team and always open to answers whenever we came up with some questions. A true gentleman with immense knowledge about the game and with the help of his strong leadership, management and motivational skills, he has really been our RAY OF HOPE.
Note - I don’t take the credit away from Anil and the rest of the team who worked as an unit along with Ray to make it possible.
Siva A N