Royal Challengers Bangalore – A franchise that entered every edition of the Indian Premier League with a big reputation but always came short to achieve the glory.

Will 2021 be their year?

After failing in the past 13 years, Virat Kohli is once again ready to battle hard with his passion and aggression in the quest to get his hands on the coveted IPL trophy. RCB had a decent outing in the last season as they qualified for the playoffs in the tough condition of the UAE. The franchise had a balanced squad in 2020 but like every season, RCB team management decides to release some of their big stars in the search for ‘diamond’.

The Bangalore-based franchise released Chris Morris, Isuru Udana and Aaron Finch after having them for just one season. Their strategy is always under scanner for not backing the players as in the past few seasons, they let go some of the biggest stars including KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Quinton de Kock and Chris Woakes. The overdependence on skipper Kohli and AB de Villiers have only grown in that time. The duo has been the heart and soul of the team and tried their best to get their team over the line on several occasions but it is proved in the last decade that individual brilliance can only win you matches not the trophy.

However, RCB made some exciting inclusions in the squad for the upcoming season with Glenn Maxwell being the much-talked-about. RCB acquired the services of the Australian power-hitter for a massive 14.25 crore, while they also bought New Zealand’s lanky pacer Kyle Jamieson for 15 crores.

Daniel Christian, Mohammed Azharuddeen and KS Bharat are the other players who can help RCB to overcome the ghosts of the past.

RCB Squad Analysis

The Openers: Captain Kohli has already made a scintillating statement after the fifth T20I against England that he will open the innings in IPL 2021. The Run-Machine at the top is a signal for the other teams to pull up their socks as Kohli means business in the 2021 IPL. Kohli has an astonishing record while opening the innings in the IPL as he scored 2345 runs at an average of 46.90. All of his five centuries in IPL came as an opening batsman.

Kohli will be opening the innings alongside young Devdutt Padikkal who impressed many with his consistent show last year. The southpaw slammed 473 runs in 15 matches in the UAE IPL as he also outshone the T20I specialists Aaron Finch at the top. The Kohli-Padikkal duo has the ability to bring the spark in the RCB team which they lacked in the past few seasons at the top.

Young Azharuddeen is another player who can make his way at the top of the RCB batting line-up in case of any injury crisis. Finn Allen of New Zealand is also a good option for RCB if they want to try an overseas batter as an opener.

The Middle-Order

When you have AB de Villiers in the batting line-up things get easy in many ways as he is the batsman who can play anywhere for the team and adapt to situations with complete ease. But with the new set-up RCB need ABD to play a solid role in the middle-order as they need him there in the absence of Kohli (who will open the innings). Alongside ABD, RCB have Sachin Baby and Azharuddeen with some fresh domestic talents to do some damage control.

The Finishers

Glenn Maxwell has a huge opportunity this year to break his image of an overpriced deal. With Kohli and ABD in the batting line-up, Maxwell will get freedom in the IPL to play his natural game and that’s the only thing RCB needed this season. The Aussie all-rounder has been one of the biggest game-changers in the shortest formats at the international level but his IPL records didn’t do any justice to his talent. With the role of finisher, Maxwell has a chance to produce a “Big Show”.

Maxwell will be accompanied by his countrymen Dan Christian in the lower-middle order. Christian is aging like fine wine at the age of 37. The flamboyant all-rounder can be the trump card for RCB which they were in search of in the past couple of seasons. Christian has the ability to clear the boundary ropes at his will and can be handy with the ball too with his smart change of pace.

The Spinners

Yuzvendra Chahal will be more than happy to play most of the IPL matches this season at the turning tracks of Ahemdabad, Kolkata and Chennai. Chahal has been one of the MVPs for RCB alongside Kohli and ABD in the past decade. The leg-spinner has produced magic with the ball whenever his captain demanded and in the upcoming season, he will once again be the players to watch out for.

Chahal will be accompanied by off-spinner Washington Sundar to trouble the batters. The 20-year-old has turned out to be the special powerplay bowler for captain Kohli in the past couple of seasons. Sundar with his disciplined bowling helped other bowlers to take advantage of the batters’ rusty attitude.

In the overseas quota, RCB have a quality spinner in Adam Zampa who can run riot on the turning tracks with his sharp googlies and leg-spin.

The Fast Bowlers

The Bangalore franchise has a fresh fast bowling attack with some exciting young pacers like Kyle Jamieson, Mohammed Siraj and Navdeep Saini. Like every season, this department will be once again under a lot of scanners for lacking the experience. Jamieson has made a name for himself in the New Zealand team but his performances in T20Is have been very questionable with an economy of 9.80. Siraj and Saini’s abilities in the T20s have also not been on par with some domestic fast bowling talents from the other teams.

Although, RCB have some depth in their pace attack this time with Daniel Sams, Harshal Patel and Kane Richardson it still looks rusty in many ways without any solid leader of the pack.