Cricket / ipl 2019
IPL 2019 RCB: Proof That Any Team Is More Than Just Its Constituent Parts
Last year's Royal Challenger Bangalore (RCB) line-up included such stellar names as Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Quinton de Kock, Brendon McCullum and Corey Anderson and yet they only managed a disappointing 6th place in IPL 2018. RCB have wielded the axe during the offseason cutting the likes of de Kock (who moved to Mumbai Indians), McCullum, Anderson and Chris Woakes. In already has come a player I rate highly in Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis but you can bet that RCB will be in the market for a few more big-name signings during the auction on 18th December. source The stars that failed to shine With the talent mentioned above much was expected of RCB in the 2018 IPL but many of those big name players failed to deliver source McCullum managed just 6 games at the top of the order where he failed to register a half-century. Is the time now up for a man who scored the first century of the IPL 11 years ago? We have seen with several players at CSK that experience can be worth so much in T20 cricket. Certainly, McCullum's approach to the game and his positive mindset could be a real asset for the right team as is evident from the positive impact he continues to have on franchises around the world. . source Someone on Scorum (I can't remember who) did a best world 11 recently and included de Kock as their keeper batsman. For me, his stock has been falling progressively over the last couple of years following his rapid rise to fame. Last season's IPL was also something of a non-event as he struggled to convert some solid starts into match-winning runs and delivered a tournament S/R of just 124 which for a top order player is slightly below par. Can his move to Mumbai Indians reignite a faltering career? . source The problem of course with having all these foreign stars is that you can only play 4 of them at the same time and from that point of view, I don't think RCB ever really knew what their best team was throughout the tournament. Corey Anderson made just 4 appearances last season scoring a measly 17 runs. He will be available again at auction but will hope to find a team that affords him a few more opportunities to display his obvious talent and ball hitting ability. . You could add to the above list Chris Woakes who leaked runs far too easily with the ball and had limited impact with bat leading to him being cut from the roster. Moeen Ali and Colin de Grandholme have been retained but both will hope to put in better performances than they managed last year. Even the brilliant AB Devilliers had by his high standards a fairly average IPL 2018. The pressure of having Kohli and Devilliers in next Of course, in T20 cricket no batsman wants to use up balls unnecessarily but when you are an opener at RCB and you know that 2 of the best players of the modern age in Virat Kohli and AB Devilliers are sat waiting to come in next then the pressure must be even more intense. Finding a good opening pairing who can get some early momentum for those 2 players to then push on will be crucial for RCB next year but equally the side and in particular their captain must trust in their openers to go on and get the big score themselves. I've written plenty about Virat Kohli the batsman and fair bit about Virat Kohli the captain this year too. With willow in hand, he remains peerless in all formats of the game and yet as a leader, there is still much to be desired. The problem with Kohli is probably akin to someone like Cristiano Ronaldo in football in that when a player becomes that big of a star then the gravitational pull that they exert on the rest of the team is so great that it can often times crush their own teammates. Make no mistake about it, Kohli could comfortably win matches on his own for RCB but that won't be enough to get them through to the knockout stages or win them the tournament. The route that RCB ultimately tried to take last year was to promote Kohli to open the batting while shifting AB up to number 3. The results particularly as far as Kohli was concerned don't suggest that this should be considered as a long-term solution. RCB need to find a couple of hitters up the top of the order who can get RCB off to a flier and when possible just keep going regardless of whether Virat fancies a bat or not. A lack of wicket taking options Umesh Yadav finished with a total of 20 wickets in the tournament and proved himself as one of the most effective bowlers in the powerplay overs. However, Yadav aside, RCB generally struggled to pick up regular wickets to really put opposition batting line-ups under consistent pressure. Legspinner Chahal was often deployed during the first 6 overs by Kohli who uses him in a similar fashion for the Indian T20 team. That is fine and Chahal is an effective operator in those circumstances but it did often leave RCB short of a wicket-taking wrist spinner in those crucial middle over periods. Mohammed Siraj will be hoping to have a more successful 2019 season and use the IPL and the fact that he is playing under the nose of the India captain to get himself back in the reckoning for the national team. Moeen Ali will also want to have a greater impact on this coming tournament than he did on the last where his performances with bat and ball were patchy at best. Moeen will believe that he can enter the 2019 tournament in a better frame of mind than he did the last one after he was battered from pillar to post by Australia's batsmen and then roughed up by their quicks with some short-pitched bowling. That experience saw him dropped for 8 straight Tests by England but he is back now and bowling as well as he has ever done. Elsewhere, the main issue with RCB's bowling attack is that it lacks any real variety. Yadav, Siraj, Southee and Nathan Coulter-Nile are all right arm quicks. Getting some more options and variety into the attack for Kohli to choose from will be crucial if RCB want to improve on last year's disappointing showing. Potential signings in the auction Number 1 on the shopping list will be an opening batsman. It seems likely that the experienced Patel will keep wicket for RCB this season and open the batting, so getting a big name hitter to sit alongside him will be crucial. Jason Roy showed what he is capable of in T20 cricket with a great 91 from just 53 balls against Mumbai Indians. However, the remainder of his tournament also demonstrated his inconsistent nature as he failed to deliver any meaningful contributions thereafter and has since been released by Delhi Capitals. Another hard-hitting opener who was probably unfortunate to not find a team last year was Martin Guptill. The imposing Kiwi opener was deemed as not suitable for the slower tracks of the sub-continent but in my opinion, would still have something to offer a franchise who is in desperate need of some punch in the powerplay. RCB have released a statement saying that they will be concentrating on finding young homegrown talent in this year's auction and as such it might be worth them considering a couple of players I've mentioned before. As noted above, they lack a left-arm seam option and so with Rajasthan Royals having released Jaydev Unadkat, an opportunity may have presented itself to solve that problem. Unadkat cost RR a fair amount of their salary cap when they signed him last year and so it was something of a surprise to see them let him go so soon into his career with them. Can he make a better go of it at RCB? Picking up a young mystery spinner would also be a big bonus for RCB. Kohli has plenty of all-round options to choose from so the inclusion of a young player who might go for runs but who could also break open an innings should be something that RCB are seriously considering come 18th December. I have mentioned CV Varun in a previous blog as a player to watch this auction and RCB could do worse to give the young wrist spinner a contract for next year. Best 11 at present Patel Kohli AB Devilliers Stoinis Moeen Ali Sundar Southee Yadav Siraj Chahal The addition of a top class opener is crucial for RCB, however, if it were to be a foreign star then they would have to jetison one of either Moeen, Stoinis or Southee to accommodate them.
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