Are Virat Kohli’s RCB favourites to win IPL?

Image Courtesy: BCCI
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With Virat Kohli at the helm of affairs, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) will continue its quest to win a maiden IPL, having failed in its previous attempts, sometimes very badly. Apart from his Bradmanesque batting ability, Kohli has a huge fan following owing to his leadership skills. However, as great leaders would often say, Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing!

Apart from boasting personal accolades such as being the highest run-scorer in IPL history, one record that continues to elude the RCB skipper is the IPL title.

The Bengaluru-based franchise has finished runners-up thrice – in 2009, 2011 and 2016 – but are yet to get their hands on the coveted prize.

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Having had a disastrous IPL last year, where they finished bottom of the league, RCB rang in a number of changes to their squad and coaching setup to give themselves a better tilt at the title.

One of the most followed teams in the IPL, Royal Challengers have consistently been one of the big spenders at the player auctions, but that has rarely reflected in on-field success.
Their last three IPL seasons have failed to lift any spirits as well as question marks on Virat Kohli’s captaincy.

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But with a sound investment in players and coaches, this year could be Kohli’s biggest chance to prove his doubters wrong.

RCB captain Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli’s charisma

Virat Kohli is an enigmatic personality. He likes to lead from the front. The Indian skipper, who has represented RCB in all the IPL seasons, has instilled an attitude in his team that is hard to match.

However, Kohli’s bigger test would be to replicate a strong dressing room camaraderie into on-field performances, something that has been lacking for a few seasons. However, the smart-buy in form of Australian limited-overs captain Aaron Finch could just be the catalyst RCB needed. Virat Kohli has longed for an able deputy and Finch could prove to be the perfect foil for the skipper.

Not only is Finch a good player of spin, but he also brings leadership in the group, which will help Kohli on and off the field. Over the years, despite having experimented with an array of talents, RCB has not been able to yield benefits from it.

However, this season, a right thought seems to have gone into planning and the Bangalore-outfit have put together a decent team that is strong in all the facets of the game.
Meanwhile, Virat Kohli has found massive support from franchise chairman Sanjeev Churiwala.

“Virat is the Indian captain. And has the highest fan-followers. We all love Virat and love to be associated with Virat. Look, this is what the game is: sometimes you lose, sometimes you win, but let’s not forget what that individual is and what kind of track record he has,” Churiwala enthused. “As RCB, as an RCB owner, we are very, very proud that Virat is associated with us.”

New acquisitions

It is safe to say that despite investing heavily every time, the RCB have lost the IPL in the boardrooms during the auction as much as on the field. With the improbable task of balancing out the side, the likes of Kohli and AB de Villiers have played out of their skin but to no avail.

However, the team management have invested wisely and seem to have turned the corner at least off the field.

As strong as their batting is, RCB’s bowling hasn’t really been able to leave an impact in the tournament. Despite posting huge totals, they have been found wanting a number of times while defending the totals. Besides Yuzvendra Chahal, RCB didn’t have a match-winning bowler within their ranks.

But the tactical additions of Chris Morris and Kane Richardson have given them a much-needed depth in their bowling department. In addition, Navdeep Saini gives them a different dimension with his pinpoint yorkers and an effective change of pace.

Over the years, RCB’s Achilles heel has always been the lack of quality death bowlers. With that facet plugged now, RCB look a different animal now.
Is this finally RCB’s year? Only time will tell.

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