IPL-17 Countdown | RCB needs to plug holes if it has to avoid familiar fate


Talisman: Kohli, the face of the franchise, is likely to don the role of opener.

Talisman: Kohli, the face of the franchise, is likely to don the role of opener.
| Photo Credit: MURALI KUMAR K

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) is set to undergo a name change, but as for its on-field prospects, it could be a worrying status quo.

Sixteen editions of the IPL have come and gone, with RCB still searching for a maiden title. Heading into the 2024 season, the franchise will have to plug the holes in the squad to end the long wait.

The most glaring deficiency is the lack of a quality wrist-spinner — a point highlighted by former RCB and South Africa batter A.B. de Villiers. Himanshu Sharma, Karn Sharma and Swapnil Singh are the available slow bowlers — hardly an inspiring list.

On the pace front, RCB signed Alzarri Joseph (₹11.50 crore), Yash Dayal (₹5 crore), Tom Curran (₹1.5 crore) and Lockie Ferguson (₹2 crore) at the auction. West Indian Joseph was chosen over established names Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins — a gamble which may backfire on the batting-friendly M. Chinnaswamy Stadium pitch.

Mohammed Siraj, who played his part in India’s win over England in the recent Test series, will spearhead the attack. Siraj will have added motivation in IPL 2024, as good performances will earn him a spot at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. Local lad and speedster V. Vyshak, who bowled with fire in the domestic circuit, deserves a few caps.

RCB prides itself on possessing a fine batting core in skipper Faf du Plessis, Glenn Maxwell and Virat Kohli, but the support cast lacks depth. Rajat Patidar, a class batter, struggled for runs in the England Tests. At 38, Dinesh Karthik is nearing the end of his playing career, especially so after his poor showing in IPL 2023. The onus thus falls on big-hitting Australian Cameron Green. Green, however, has spent the last few months focusing on red-ball cricket, so he may need some time to adjust to the demands of T20s.

Kohli, the face of the franchise, is likely to don the role of opener. The superstar is more accumulator than belligerent blaster, so in the event of his failure, the pressure falls on an already brittle middle-order. Once again, it will be left to Maxwell to pick up the pieces.

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