If RCB don’t win this time they never will, this is something everyone says looking at their squad each season and this edition is no difference either. Star-studded RCB have always entered the tournament as favourites to win the title but they haven’t been able to do so yet. Despite their inability to win the cup, you won’t see any dip in the enthusiasm of their fans which I can reason with an analogy from an American TV series, Friends. Though there would be people longing to see RCB win IPL their every game is a standalone entertainment package, like any friends’ episode, in itself which pull people to the stadium to see the likes of AB and Kohli capable of doing the impossible in every game. The anticipation of what Kohli, AB, or Gayle who was earlier there, would do is something which plays with people’s mind and makes them feel that they might miss something historical can be one of the factors behind that enthusiasm.
With younger McCullum replacing Gayle, RCB has got a leader, a blazing batsman, and a superb fielder in Baz. He, in my opinion, is the definition of controlled aggression whom you’d never see crossing that line but you wouldn’t see him away from that fine line either, I would say he plays at hundred percent efficiency expected of him giving his everything in each aspect of game, be it fielding, batting, or even his captaincy. These traits of him would be complimenting Kohli and would make him the best replacement of the latter as the captain, God forbid in case he misses out any game. Another addition to RCB in form of Quinton de Kock would strengthen their top four to the extreme. They also have two backups each for Baz and Kock in Manan Vohra and Parthiv Patel respectively. Following two batsmen, Kohli and AB, you can talk about them all day long how good they are, I think it’s better not to talk because it’s even better to watch them play. With RCB retaining Sarfaraz I think they must be having some plans for him. After that, they could play with Mandeep or can even bring Vohra to that spot who generally plays as an opener. Going for the first all-rounder they would be having three good overseas options available to them in Woakes, Moeen, and Grandhomme. I would choose Woakes over Moeen with the fire they have in their top order. Also, Washington Sundar who recently showed his ability to bowl during powerplay and capability to bat too would make my choice over Pawan Negi as a second spin bowling all-rounder. Going towards the bottom two bowlers Chahal competent to take wickets even on a smaller ground like Chinnaswamy and Umesh Yadav would be two permanents in each of the bowling domains. To lead bowling with Yadav would either be Southee or anyone among Navdeep Saini, Siraj, or Aniket Choudhary whoever would be getting a chance to play or they can also play a spinner in Murugan Ashwin if Southee plays. Another reason of I not picking two overseas all-rounders and benching Southee, which is also an option available to RCB, is same as I didn’t pick Moeen over Woakes, the muscular batting order at the top. Also, they can drop Southee and pick Kock who is a better choice as a keeper and play him with Baz.
Tackling the problem of a weaker bowling unit and having created a pretty balanced team, I feel this is the best chance so far for RCB to fulfill their dreams. To talk of the player or rather players to watch out for, I would say RCB is a team where their key players are their players to watch out for with power to do something big and new every season.
Tentative Playing XI :
1.) Parthiv Patel / Kock 2.) BMac 3.) Virat Kohli 4.) AB de Villiers 5.) Sarfaraz khan /Mandeep Singh / Manan Vohra 6.) Woakes/Grandhomme/Moeen 7.) Washington Sundar / Negi 8.) Chahal 9.) Ashwin/Navdeep Saini / Siraj / Aniket Choudhary 10.) Umesh Yadav 11.) Southee/ Ashwin