Virat Kohli is set to lead Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 2014 © IANS
Over the years, the Royal Challengers is a side that has been tipped to win the coveted Indian Premier League (IPL). However, despite the squad being made up of twinkling stars, they haven’t won the title even once. Yet, the retention of three players for IPL 2014 were on expected lines. Bharath Ramaraj reviews Bangalore’s move to retain Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers.
The Royal Challengers Bangalore had a chance to go for a clean slate this year, but it was obvious that at least three of their mainstays in captain Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers were going to be retained. Kohli is your quintessential modern day aggressive batsman and unmistakably, Bangalore have chosen to retain the jewel in their team. His captaincy is also suited to the shortest version of the game.
Of course, Gayle has that aura surrounding him in the IPL. His ability to bludgeon even the best of attacks at the top of the order has meant that Bangalore were always going to show faith in their proven performer. His memorable knock of 175 off a mere 66 balls against Pune Warriors India in the 2013 edition of IPL would be reverberated for many years to come in cricketing circles.
The South African One-Day International (ODI) captain, de Villiers is a versatile batsman. He can steady the ship and calm rough waters and when needed, is as destructive as anyone going around. He plays shots in a 360-degreee arc. His wicketkeeping has come up by leaps and bounds too in recent times. He brings those sparks of brilliance to the side.
For the last few seasons, Bangalore have suffered from lacking a strong bowling unit capable of making early inroads and put finishing touches in the death overs to win games. So, R Vinay Kumar and West Indian speedster, Ravi Rampaul, may be brought during the auction time. Vinay Kumar has a tendency to go for runs, but taking wickets in any format of the game is paramount. In IPL 2013, he took a total of 23 wickets. Rampaul played only 10 games in 2013 edition, but even in those few appearances, , he left his indelible mark by taking 13 wickets at 20.07. His economy rate too was acceptable.
Bangalore have to look for a fine death bowler like James Faulkner during the auction next month, as that has been the area which has broken the camel’s back.
Sri Lankan veteran batsman Tillakratne Dilshan hasn’t fired on all cylinders for them. He showed great promise while playing for Delhi Daredevils, during the early years of IPL, but since moving to to Bangalore, he hasn’t been consistent enough. It has resulted in him not being retained. The wily fox, Muralitharan wasn’t retained either. The Sri Lankan legend is certainly past his best.
Remember, just like any team sport, one man alone cannot win you games consistently. Everyone, including the bowlers have to pull their weight for Bangalore to fulfill the cherished dream of winning the IPL in 2014.
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(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)