Although the Royal Challengers Bangalore have been unable to reach the knockout stages of the last 2 editions of the IPL, they still remain a team which is considered as one of the contenders for the title at the start of the tournament due to their impressive past record. It is true that they performed miserably in the first edition of the IPL; however they managed to reach the knockout stages in the next three editions and in fact were the beaten finalists twice. The RCB is a power packed team and they start most of their games as predicted winners.
Virat Kohli, Mayank Agarwal, KP Appana, Sreenath Arvind, Arun Karthik, Christopher Barnwell, Daniel Christian, AB de Villiers, T. Dilshan, Chris Gayle, Moises Henriques, Sheldon Jackson, Murali Kartik, Zaheer Khan, Andrew McDonald, Abhimanyu Mithun, Abhinav Mukund, Muttiah Muralitharan, Karun Nair, Pankaj Singh, Prasanth Paramewaran, Harshal Patel, Cheteshwar Pujara, Lokesh Rahul, Ravi Rampaul, Sandeep Warrier, RP Singh, Sunny Sohal, Jamaluddin Syed Mohammad, Saurabh Tiwary, Jaydev Unadkat, Daniel Vettori, Vinay Kumar, Vijay Zol.
The RCB has one of the biggest squads in the tournament along with the Mumbai Indians and so it is no wonder that the captain is always in a position to mix and match the combinations according to the needs of the situation. Additionally, there is the added benefit that they do not have to worry too much about injuries unless of course it is to an irreplaceable player like Chris Gayle. However, it cannot be denied that they have the option to draft in an effective player like T. Dilshan if Gayle is injured and that has proven to be one of their biggest advantages for many seasons now.
After a fair bit of fiddling with the idea of Daniel Vettori as captain the team, management at last saw sense and promoted Virat Kohli to the hot seat back in IPL 5 and truth be told he has done a fair job so far. Kohli is a young captain who has the ability to lead from the front due to his prodigious talent as a batsman and in addition to that he will gain a lot of experience over the years by acting as Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s deputy for Team India, which would only improve his abilities as a limited overs captain. RCB has taken a long term decision and it is expected that like last time Kohli will be one of the players who will be retained by the franchise.
The top order batting strength of the RCB is undoubtedly their biggest strength and it has been proven over the years that they have the best top 4 in the IPL- albeit marginally. A player like Chris Gayle is a nightmare for any opposition since the bowling does not really matter when he is in the mood and then there is the added threat of Virat Kohli, who can play proper cricket shots to demoralise any bowler. However, the joker in the pack is AB de Villiers, who is usually sent in at anywhere between number 4 to number 6 and has often been the difference between a win or loss for the RCB. In the bowling department, Vinay Kumar and Zaheer Khan have been pivotal for the RCB whenever they have been under the hammer.
Last year during the auctions Kohli had instructed the management to go for Indian bowlers so that he could have enough options throughout the tournament but that strategy has not worked that well since barring the exception of Vinay Kumar, no one has really been that great. Additionally, the all rounder’s slot needs to be farmed up since Moises Henriques and Andrew McDonald have not exactly been effective. Although the former did play a few quick innings, his bowling left a lot to be desires. The diktat for RCB would be to get a quality all-rounder and a few quality fast bowlers irrespective of their nationalities.
By Soham Samaddar
Image Source: Royal Challengers Bangalore@Facebook