Bangalore, Mar 28: Royal Challengers Bangalore coach Ray Jennings feels that Sri Lanka spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan's experience will help the youngsters in the team in the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
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Muralitharan will make his RCB debut this year after he was bought in the February auction. The Sri Lankan offspinner has retired from international cricket but plays Twenty20 games. He is likely to form a formidable pair with RCB captain Daniel Vettori of New Zealand.
When Jennings was asked for his reaction on the inclusion of Muralitharan, the South African said: “He is a very knowledgeable guy, he has got that added experience and he is a fantastic human being and as an individual he can pass on that experience as well. And when you look at the skill level, if last year he was in our side along with Dan Vettori on those slow wickets (in the final), we could have benefited."
Jennings does not feel having Muralitharan in the team will affect the team's balance. A team in IPL can play only four foreigners. And it will be tough for RCB to accomodate both Muralitharan and Vettori. However, the New Zealander will be a permament member as he is the captain of the side.
“No, not at all. Mayank (Agarwal) is older, (Saurabh) Tiwary is a lot of fitter and if more Indians get in (to batting) then it frees up a position (in bowling). We have some options," explained Jennings.
Muralitharan admitted that he won't be playing all games. "they needed a second spinner. Daniel (Vettori) is going to captain so he is going to take the majority of the matches," Muralitharan said.
On the issue of handling older guys like Muralitharan and the youngsters in the team, he said: “I don"t handle anything. If the players are good human beings, they will handle eac other. If you have an arrogant cricketer, who doesn"t mix well with the team, then you have a problem. The first thing is you make sure that everybody respects everybody else. Murali might be the most experienced and Zol might be the inexperienced but if they respect each other, then there won't be a problem. We need the respect going out even to the fans and we want the Bangalore people to love the side."
The coach also felt that Tillakaratne Dilshan will not be missed as the Sri Lankan opener will be absent in the RCB's opening game against Delhi Daredevils on April 7 at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore.
“We have got some superb replacements and different combinations and this gives the new guys an opportunity," he said.