RCB had surprised no one by retaining Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers and everyone by retaining Sarfaraz Khan © AFP
RCB had surprised no one by retaining Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers and everyone by retaining Sarfaraz Khan © AFP

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) had surprised no one by retaining Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers and everyone by retaining Sarfaraz Khan. They were expected to retain Yuzvendra Chahal and they did exactly that. And they kept boosting the squad with some excellent purchases at optimal prices, which made them one of the most high-profile sides of IPL 2018. It seems a dangerous outfit at first glance, but there is a catch: not for the first time have they sacrificed quality Indian players while going in pursuit of overseas big guns. It is, thus, very likely that they will have several world-class foreign cricketers warming benches throughout the tournament.

A team to dream for

Think: what if de Villiers joins Kohli once Brendon McCullum is through with the massacre? If RCB still lose a wicket, Quinton de Kock will step up; or maybe if there is little time, they may promote Colin de Grandhomme; or Chris Woakes; or Moeen Ali; Parthiv Patel, Mandeep Singh, and Manan Vohra seem almost insignificant.

What about the bowling? I have already mentioned Woakes and Moeen. Add to that Chahal, probably the smartest and most skilled limited-overs spinner in the world. He will bowl in tandem with Washington Sundar. And Umesh Yadav will share new-ball duty with Nathan Coulter-Nile and Tim Southee.

The catch

You cannot drop McCullum or de Villiers. You have to play both. This means that Coulter-Nile and Southee will fight for one spot and Moeen, de Grandhomme, and Woakes will fight for another even if Parthiv plays ahead of de Kock.

Once you pick these four, you will have to choose two Indian batsmen other than Kohli. Your base consists of Vohra, Sarfaraz, Mandeep, and Pavan Deshpande. Umesh will be a certainty along with Chahal, Sundar, and one of the all-rounders; that will mean one of Mohammad Siraj and Navdeep Saini having to play.

Royal Challengers Bangalore squad: Virat Kohli (captain last season), AB de Villiers (wk), Tim Southee, Moeen Ali, Colin de Grandhomme, Chris Woakes, Quinton de Kock (wk), Parthiv Patel (wk), Brendon McCullum, Manan Vohra, Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, Yuzvendra Chahal, Pavan Deshpande, Aniruddha Joshi, Murugan Ashwin, Washington Sundar, Pawan Negi, Kulwant Khejroliya, Umesh Yadav, Aniket Choudhary, Navdeep Saini, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Mohammad Siraj