RCB mentorship programme: Kohli paired with Padikkal, Saini studying in firm of Steyn

Abu Dhabi, October 1

Royal Challengers Bangalore has come up with a unique “mentorship programme” where young cricketers of the IPL outfit have been paired with like-minded seniors who can groom their talent.

Explaining this initiative, RCB director of cricket Mike Hesson said every cricketer of the team was paired with a “buddy” from the side, giving each other an opportunity to learn, mentor and share.

For example, young opening batsman Devdutt Padikkal has been paired with skipper Virat Kohli, while paceman Navdeep Saini has been paired with veteran South African speedster Dale Steyn.

“The mentorship programme is something that Simon Katich is really keen to introduce. It’s something that happen in many sports. When you have got players who are keen to share it’s an opportunity to draw out experience.

“The more experience players share with younger ones and also for the old blokes to pick up some ideas from the young guys,” Hesson said in a video posted on the team’s Twitter page.

Hesson spoke more on the need for the programme.

“So we look at who we are going to pair with whom and who we think generally can spend some time together away from practice, get to know each other a bit, talk about the game.

“For example, Navdeep Saini is paired with Dale Steyn. Steyn has done everything in the world regarding pace bowling, knows the game inside out. Navdeep Saini is hugely talented, wants to bowl fast, so there is nothing better for the two sitting together talking about pace bowling.

“Devdutt Padikkal is paired with Virat Kohli. There is no better mentor for a young developing player. He has got ambition, they bat at similar place in the order.”    

Hesson said the initiative was important for the success of the team.             

“The part of being in a squad is getting to know people, not just cricket wise. We have asked our pairs to introduce their buddies, tell us some interesting facts about them, something we don’t know.

“There are different personalities in a group and the challenge for us to keep the environment vibrant. The more the group bonds then when you are out in the park and are under pressure, you start to work together as a team.”     

RCB have so far registered two wins out of three games and take on Rajasthan Royals here on Saturday. PTI

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