Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) have always boasted of a star-studded line-up but are yet to win an IPL trophy. They have thrice made it to the final (2009, 2011 and 2016) of the cash-rich league but the title has eluded them. Batting has been their their biggest strength and it’s bowling where they have been found lacking time and again. In the previous season, they took the wooden spoon finishing eighth after managing five wins from 14 matches with one producing no result.
Ahead of the auction, RCB released 12 players that included the likes of Shimron Hetmyer, Dale Steyn, Tim Southee, Marcus Stoinis, Colin de Grandhomme, Akshdeep Nath, Heinrich Klassen, Himmat Singh, Kulwant Khejroliya, Milind Kumar, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Prayas Ray Barman.
Their current squad includes captain Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Moeen Ali, Navdeep Saini, Parthiv Patel, Pawan Negi, Shivam Dube, Umesh Yadav, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Devdutt Padikkal, Gurkeerat Singh, Mohammed Siraj.
With INR 27.90 crore, they have the fourth biggest purse remaining among the eight teams and have 12 slots to fill including six domestic and six overseas stars.
Here’s a look at the players they could be potentially bidding for :-
Having let go of Steyn, Southee and Nathan Coulter-Nile, RCB are in need of at least one genuine overseas fast bowler. They need someone to lead their pace attack even though they have a decent option in Umesh Yadav. Australia star Cummins is expected to invite a bidding war when his name comes up at the auction. Considering the form he has been in 2019, he can very well become the leader of any team’s pace attack and RCB are in need of one. He possess a lethal yorker and can mix his pace well with a deceptive slower ball.
T20 Record – Matches: 77 | Wickets: 92 | Average: 24.46 | Economy: 7.72 | BBI: 4/16
With the release of Stoinis, Grandhomme and Coulter-Nile, RCB have let go of three overseas seam bowling allrounders. Neesham was in fine form at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 and could prove to be a quality buy for RCB. A batting-strike rate in the late 130s, ability to bowl in the middle overs and electric fielding – Neesham has all the qualities of a genuine T20 allrounder. At the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), he was Trinbago Knight Riders leading wicket-taker and at the world cup, he scored 232 runs and took 15 wickets as well.
T20 Record – Matches: 112 | Runs: 1531 | SR: 137.80 | Wickets: 106 | BBI: 4/16
The England allrounder was bought by Kings XI Punjab last year for a cool INR 7.2 crore but couldn’t justify the huge price-tag. Although, in his debut IPL season, the 21-year-old left his mar with a hat-trick against Delhi Capitals. He played nine matches, scored 95 runs including a fifty and also took 10 wickets but leaked runs as well. The numbers might not inspire much confidence but his ability to swing and produce big hits still make him an attractive option. He can also play the role of a finisher.
T20 Record – Matches: 69 | Runs: 838 | SR: 130.93 | Wickets: 63 | BBI: 4/11
Two of the biggest batting superstars of this generation – Kohli and De Villiers – play for RCB. Unfortunately for them, their batting last season revolved around this pair. Their middle order looked ordinary when these two fail. Maxwell could very well solve their middle-order muddle. He is someone who can start hitting from the first ball itself and despite his unimpressive returns in the recent IPL seasons, continues to be a big draw. The 2014 season when he scored 552 runs at an incredible strike-rate of 187.75 is a prime example of the damage he can inflict when in full flow.
T20 Record – Matches: 251 | Runs: 5589 | SR: 154.94 | HS: 145*
The 17-year-old batting sensation is going to be at the top of the list of the most sought-after Indian domestic stars. The left-handed batsman put on a show at the recent Vijay Hazare Trophy where he belted 25 sixes. He also became the youngest Indian to hit a List A double-century during the 50-over competition. He scored 564 runs from just six matches that included three centuries as well. His has been a storied rise and can solve RCB’s opening woes but they will have to stave off stiff challenge from other franchisees.