After branding each of the previous seasons as theirs, Royal Challengers Bangalore are under immense pressure to win the title. Repeated failures have hurt the team and Virat Kohli will have to chase this “target” in order to remove a hovering cloud of doubt.
Balance has been one of the first terms thrown around when it comes to this franchise. Having boasted arguably the strongest top order for the majority of the competition in the form of Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers, the side has nothing to show for it.
Despite making it into the finals on three separate occasions, the side has ended up on the losing side each time. Like most of their auctions, the Royal Challengers have opted for a complete revamp of their side.
The franchise elected to release nine players which include Corey Anderson, Brendon McCullum, and Chris Woakes. Apart from that, Quinton de Kock was sold to Mumbai Indians and long-time southpaw Mandeep Singh was traded for Marcus Stoinis.
The auctions saw Royal Challengers invest heavily in big hitters. The side replaced the departed Chris Gayle with a Guyanese left arm hard hitter in the form of Shimron Hetmyer. RCB also managed to grab hold of the highly rated youngster Shivam Dube, who shot into fame after smashing 5 sixes in a single over of a Ranji Trophy game.
Despite the changes in the squad, the bigger spotlight is the change of personnel which has been opted by the franchise. Head coach Daniel Vettori, batting and fielding coach Trent Woodhill and bowling coach Andrew McDonald were relieved of their duties to make way for Gary Kirsten and Ashish Nehra. The former India left-arm pacer initially served as a mentor for the team in the previous campaign.
The side has been victim to the poor bowling attack over the years which has failed to sync with the batting unit. This time around, Umesh Yadav leads the pack after impressing one and all with his antics with the new ball to end up with 20 wickets in 14 matches. The other potential fast bowling options include Tim Southee, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Marcus Stoinis, Mohammad Siraj along with budding young Indian seamers as well.
Whereas the spin department is led by Yuzvendra Chahal who will be supported by all-rounders Moeen Ali and Washington Sundar. Colin de Grandhomme is also a potential hard-hitting option down the order.
One of the major tasks for Virat Kohli as captain would be to find a balanced XI, something which they failed to do last season. Royal Challengers Bangalore have failed to assert their dominance over the last two seasons having finished rock bottom in the standings.
Predicted XI: Virat Kohli (c), Parthiv Patel (wk), AB de Villiers, Shimron Hetmeyer, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Marcus Stoinis, Washington Sundar, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Yuzvendra Chahal, Umesh Yadav, Mohammad Siraj.