A team which looks pretty balanced and a team which is ready to go for the IPL, 2019.
Royal Challengers Bangalore is one of the most glamorous sides in the IPL. Barring 2008, RCB has always preferred to bid for T20 superstars like Kevin Pietersen, Yuvraj Singh and AB de Villiers.
The 2011 season saw RCB assemble some of the biggest names in T20 cricket. Chris Gayle and AB De Villiers became part of the RCB family. Virat Kohli came into his own from the year 2013, and the superstar trio has made RCB one of the most popular teams in IPL.
RCB’s auction strategy for 2019 was simple; they wanted local uncapped players, all-rounders and hard-hitting batsmen who can add some strength to the middle order. They have international bowlers in their ranks who can provide them with some much-needed relief going into the tournament.
RCB has captain Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers who are two of the best in the business. Since Virat opens the innings and ABD bats at number three, RCB’s batting is top-heavy.
This time around, RCB has invested in young batsmen and all-rounders who might help them get over that problem. Shimron Hetmeyer, Marcus Stoinis, Moeen Ali, Colin De Grandhomme, Parthiv Patel and Gurkeerat Singh Mann will provide some serious strength in their batting.
The big-hitting Shivam Dube on whom RCB spent 5 crores, seems to be an exciting pick along with Devdutt Padikkal. They are unknown entities who might provide the much required X-factor.
This army of middle order batsmen will allow Virat Kohli to play the sheet anchors role, something that he prefers to do. ABD can also play his natural game controlling the situation in the middle overs.
Moeen Ali, Marcus Stoinis and Colin De Grandhomme are quality all-rounders, and each one of them provides different dimensions to the squad.
Moeen Ali is a quality batsman who can hold things at one end and also use the long handle to good effect. He is also a wily off-spinner who can bowl an economical spell and prise out a couple of wickets.
Colin De Grandhomme and Marcus Stoinis bring similar skills to the table. Both of them are adept in hitting sixes and bowl medium-pace using a mixture of slower deliveries, slow-bouncers and wide yorkers.
Apart from the ones mentioned above, RCB has Washington Sundar, Pawan Negi, Akshdeep Nath and Shivam Dube who will give them more options to lend more balance to the side.
RCB has two wicketkeepers in the squad namely Parthiv Patel and Heinrich Klassen. Parthiv will most probably open the innings with captain Kohli and be the first choice wicketkeeper. He can play some shots at the top and release the pressure on Kohli during the middle overs.
Klassen was a value buy for RCB. He is a good wicketkeeping batsman from South Africa who plays spin pretty well. Klassen will provide the much-needed depth in the batting and is usually safe behind the stumps.
If Patel struggles to get going, Klassen would surely get the opportunity to prove his mettle. Also, as an option backup plan we have Shimron Hetmeyer as a wicket keeping option, too.
The wily Yuzvendra Chahal leads RCB’s spin department. He has been one of the top performers for RCB over the years and bowls well on a flat Chinnaswamy deck. He has the skills to bowl during the powerplay as well as the middle overs and Kohli uses Chahal as a wicket-taking option.
Washington Sundar, the off-spinner from Tamil Nadu is another bowler who bowls economical spells and usually bowls during the power play. Then there is Moeen Ali who can stifle the runs in the middle overs with his quickish off-spin.
Pawan Negi, the left-armer adds variety to the bowling attack. He doesn’t spin the ball too much and prefers to fire the ball in with the angle using a flatter trajectory.
Prayas Ray Barman is the new kid on the block who is an unknown entity. Wrist-spinners have had a lot of success, and the rookie might be one of the secret weapons in the tournament for RCB.
RCB has one of the most varied bowling attacks in the forthcoming IPL. Fast bowling looks formidable with Tim Southee, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Umesh Yadav leading the attack.
All the three are potent seam bowlers, capable of swinging the new ball and bowling with pace and accuracy. They can consistently clock over 140 kph which would be helpful if IPL is held overseas conditions.
The team also has Kulwant Khejroliya and Mohammed Siraj who can provide the X-factor to the bowling group. Khejroliya, with his left-arm action, can create some awkward angles for the batsmen who would be helpful during the death overs.
RCB’s death bowling is a perennial issue and they usually struggle to defend totals. If the fast bowlers are successful in providing early breakthroughs, it will help the team to control the game in the middle overs with the spinners they have got.
Marcus Stoinis and Colin De Grnadhomme can slip in some tight overs in the middle to complement the spinners. Stoinis, in particular, has a very deceptive slower ball which is hard to pick. In Stoinis, Kohli will have another death bowling option.
They already have the big names. There are no bigger names in T20 cricket than Virat Kohli and Ab de Villiers, apart from maybe Chris Gayle, who they chose not to retain last year. Kohli and De Villiers are two proven performers and as such the opposition knows it won’t have it easy as long as these two are around. The bowling unit is solid in every aspect – they have quality spinners and pacemen too. The addition of Stoinis gives them a good all-round option as well. On paper, this looks settled and ready to goo.