BANGALORE: Leading a top IPL franchise like Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League will be a "stepping stone" for the talented Virat Kohli to get ready for a bigger role with the Indian team, feels coach Ray Jennings.
"Kohli needs to make sure he gets his captaincy right. Dhoni is not going to be around for a long time. He needs to be ready for India and captaining RCB is a stepping stone for Kohli to take over from Dhoni," Jennings said after a training session on Tuesday.
"Kohli has the ability to lead the Indian team and also is very fiery which is a good thing for RCB."
Asked whether he supported Micky Arthur dropping four Australia players for not completing a feedback review, Jennings said every coach has different ways of doing things.
"You need to understand what players did and what relationship they had in the buildup to that (controversy). If you ask players 10 times to do something and they don't do it, you have a reaction. When you ask for the first time, you have a different reaction," he said.
Jennings said the team is lot stronger than last year, but T20 is a strange game, anything can happen in 120 balls.
"If guys click, we make huge scores, but if they get out first ball, we lose," he said.
The coach also said after having performed wonderfully against all top Test squads, Cheteshwar Pujara's challenge is to play the same level of cricket in T20.
"We all know he is a good player," he said. Jennings said Pujara would be out of action for two to three weeks, but the support staff would be monitoring his fitness.
Jennings said as a unit, the team is playing well from the batting point of view as Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers are top batsmen in the world ratings.
"Moreover, Tillakaratne Dilshan is coming into the IPL with a ton behind him and Chris Gayle is coming with runs behind," he added.
Jennings said the good thing about reinforcement of bowling department has given the team four or five options which allows competition.
"We have also got spinning option with Murali Karthik coming in. Hopefully, the players perform on the day and make us successful," he said.
Talking about Zaheer Khan and Ravi Rampaul's fitness as they are coming into the IPL after recovering from injuries, Jennings said they are professionals and have to show results on the field to make some impact.
"Zaheer will be hundred percent fit as he knows his body well," he added.
Jennings said his biggest challenge is to make sure that the team functions as a happy unit as they will be in for tough times in away games.
"Happiness brings energy and energy brings commitment," he said.
Reacting to be called as a tough coach, Jennings said he cannot afford to have an unhappy unit.
"Toughness you have to instill as a coach when you start. Next, the softness comes after players begin to understand the rules and values of the team," he said.