Ahead of the IPL auction for the 2020 season, it was a complete cleanout for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). They released as many as 12 players, including six overseas stars. The likes of Marcus Stoinis, Shimron Hetmyer, Colin de Grandhomme, Akshdeep Nath and the others have been left out.
The Virat Kohli-led side has often been guilty of buying players for big, hefty pay-cheques and either not using them well or releasing them after one season. RCB need to have a settled team and back their players. It’s one particular area where they’ve been found out.
Thus, going into the auction, they have INR 27.9 crore and have a maximum of 12 slots to fill up. But they can go big for a couple of overseas players as they have six overseas slots to be filled. Hence, with the auction not even a week away, let’s look at five players RCB can target:
It was only a year and a half ago that Sam Curran made his international debut and he had an impact straight away. He was the game-changer for England against India in the Test series and ever since, he’s been rated pretty highly. He has only recently started getting picked in the England white-ball teams but he was one of the most attractive players in the auction last year.
The left-handed all-rounder was bought for a stunning amount of INR 7.2 crore by Kings XI Punjab (KXIP). Curran played nine games in the IPL and scored 95 runs at a strike-rate of 172.73. He picked up 10 wickets as well but was on the expensive side.
Curran has the ability to make an impact with both bat and ball and RCB will be looking out for such players. In fact, even last year, they went after Curran and backed out at the last minute to let KXIP win the bid. Thus, he could be one of the targets this year again.
Here is someone who has adjusted and adapted according to the team’s needs. Alex Carey was essentially an opening batsman but he has had to accommodate himself in the middle order in white-ball cricket. He did struggle a touch initially but has adapted beautifully and has started churning out consistent performances.
He’s had a very good six months or so. While all the limelight was on the big stars, Carey quietly earned the name of a finisher in the Australian side. He made 375 runs at an average of 62.50 and a strike-rate of 104.16 in the World Cup. He carried his form in the T20 Blast where he amassed 264 runs at an average of 37.71. The left-handed wicket-keeper has also scored runs for Victoria and has started the Australian summer on a high.
RCB may be looking for a quality keeper-batsman and thus, Carey is someone who fits in nicely. He can bat anywhere in the order and still be effective. He could open the batting with someone like Devdutt Padikkal or even bat at 4 or 5 lending solidity in the middle order.
There’s absolutely no doubt that RCB need an overseas fast bowler who can lead the attack. They’ve released Dale Steyn, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Tim Southee and will need someone to fill in. Thus, Pat Cummins could be one of the big targets.
The premier Australian fast bowler will be one of the attractive propositions for most teams but RCB can afford to spend big on a player or two. Cummins can lead the pace attack and is likely to be available for the entire season. He has shown that he can be very effective at any stage of the game.
2019 saw his return to the shortest format for Australia and he’s done well. In seven games, Cummins has picked up nine wickets but he has an economy of 6.62. The last time he featured in the IPL, he played 12 games and took 15 wickets for the Delhi Daredevils (now Capitals). Thus, the addition of Pat Cummins could boost RCB’s pace attack and lend some balance as well.
Virat Singh is a rather unknown face in the Indian domestic cricketing circles. However, he’s been around for the last four or five years. He made his debut in all three formats for Jharkhand in 2014.
This year, his name has come up quite a few times when the IPL auction strategies have been discussed. The left-handed batsman has had a really good white-ball season this time. In the Vijay Hazare tournament, Virat made 335 runs at an average of 83.75 and a strike-rate of 100.60. In the shortest format (Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy), he aggregated 343 runs and was striking at 142.32.
With quite a few top-order stars present in the squad, RCB will be looking for an Indian middle-order option. Virat Singh could be a target and he can fit in well.
RCB have never really had batting depth over the last few years. It has often been the two big stars at the top (Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers) and an indifferent middle-order combined with a tail that cannot really contribute much. Thus, Chris Morris can add balance and depth to RCB’s squad.
The South African all-rounder is destructive with the bat and very effective with the ball. He has a decent IPL record and has been in decent form as well in the recent past. In the Mzansi Super League (MSL), he was striking at 176.81 with the bat while he picked up 10 wickets with the ball.
Morris has been an IPL regular since 2013. He’s played for three teams so far and RCB could well be his fourth. The Kohli-led team needs some depth in the side and also some quality all-round options and thus, Morris could be one of their targets.
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