IPL 2018 | Who should Royal Challengers Bangalore buy at the mega-auction

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BCCI

IPL 2018 | Who should Royal Challengers Bangalore buy at the mega-auction

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Faizan Qadiri

01/25/2018

The perennial underachievers/chokers arguably had the best result in the auction after saving two crores despite retaining three players and spending 17 cr on Virat Kohli’s retention. This time around they have two great RTM options to go along with a huge pool of talented players in the auction.

Players Retained – Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, and Sarfaraz Khan

Funds Remaining - 49 crores

With the three players that RCB have retained, they have made sure that they don’t have to worry about of the middle order anymore with the 3, 4, and 5 places sorted out. Even though the funds remaining column shows that they have 49 crores left, ten, fringe, out of the 22 players remaining will/should not cost the Bangalore franchise anything more than a hugely conservative 7 crores, which means that they have 42 crores left for 12 players. 

RTM 

Keeping this in mind, let's talk about RTM first. RCB have put themselves in the best possible position thanks to the Sarfaraz retention because now they don’t have to worry about an uncapped player in the RTM – a problem for every other franchise. Logic dictates that they have to use their RTM on KL Rahul and Yuzvendra Chahal. However, the question that arises is that how can they bear for the duo because spending 20 crores for them would have a huge impact on the rest of the auction. Having said that, if RCB can get both players for 15 crores, considering the value of first choice Indian national team players, it would be an absolute steal and a core like that would last them at least till the next mega-auction. However, if they just get the option to get one of the players, its Chahal who should get the nod due to the unique skill set he possesses. 

Batsmen 

Bangalore have always been a side that have prided themselves on their batting prowess. A big reason for that is the smallish Chinnaswamy and the flat track that it offers which has always meant that big hitters have been the way to go for the franchise. The loss of Gayle might be a blessing in disguise for the side as they have, even though it might be hard to believe, better options. With KKR already having retained two foreign players, Chris Lynn and Colin Munro are now confirmed to be available in the auction. It is likely that every franchise will just break the bank for one player and this is what RCB have to concentrate on. While Lynn has the capability of going for over 7-8 crores and would be a great addition, there is another player who RCB should target. Signing Quinton de Kock would take care of not just a hard hitter in one of the opening slots, but the wicket-keeping problem is also solved. However, the problem there is that Delhi are very likely to have an RTM on the batsman. 

If RCB can get one of the two, if not both, they can just fill the rest of the batting slots with players who won’t fetch more than 2-3 crores. Since they will already have at least four explosive batsmen, RCB would need a player to hold down the fort should things go south in a match. Hiring a foreign player for this would be a terrible idea considering they have to worry about the bowling contingent as well. But that is not the only reason for the statement. Indian batsmen are well acquainted with the pitches on offer in the country and experienced guys like Manoj Tiwary, Ambati Rayudu, and Manan Vohra could offer the necessary stability to the side. Odisha's Govinda Poddar, who scored a blistering 95 in RCB trail match, and K Gautham could be other options that the RCB side could look to build a team of some repute. 

 © BCCI

Bowlers

The only time that RCB realistically got close to a title was, back in 2016, when two of their bowlers, Chahal and Shane Watson, were able to claim over 20 wickets. With Mitchell Starc pulling out last season, the Tymal Mills experiment proved to be a disaster. With a number of world-class bowlers to pick from, RCB will have to break the bank for one. That one should ideally be Andrew Tye. The Aussie is arguably one of the best death over bowlers at the moment and has proved his worth in both the IPL and the BBL. Even though there is a high probability of CSK retaining his services for this edition, RCB should go all in for the talented pacer if they want a genuine threat in their attack. 

Apart from regaining the services of Sreenath Aravind and Aniket Choudhry (which should not be too heavy on the pocket), the main spearhead of the team has to be one of the Kolkata duo, Umesh Yadav or Trend Boult. Both have proved time and again that they have the capability of leading the line and on a docile wicket like the Chinnaswamy, the duo could have a lasting impact on the team. If the Royal Challengers can acquire two of the three pacers, they have a real chance of putting up a strong challenge for the title this time around.

All-rounders 

In all honesty, this is the category that will decide whether or not they are a real threat this year. And there are some absolute monster all-rounders out there. However, Ben Stokes, Marcus Stoinis, and Colin Munro might just be out of the equation as far as price in concerned, particularly if they are able to retain both Rahul and Chahal. Now the best two that they have available are Nathan Coulter-Nile and Chris Woakes. Out of the duo, it's the former who has to be the first choice due to the fact that English players might leave at the fag end of the tournament. The Aussie can contribute immensely with the bat and bowl and its hard to say what he does better.

As far as the other all-rounder is concerned, RCB should go for a young gun like a Hanuma Vihari. The 24-year-old averages a cool 20.90 with the ball and 21.38 with the bat in the T20 games that he had played. Apart from his T20 exploits, he was also pretty convincing in the Ranji Trophy where he scored his highest ever score, 302*, against Odisha in October. The only problem he might face is the fact that he is an off-spinner who can’t really get a lot of movement off the wicket and on a Chinnaswamy wicket might leak far too many runs. 

Ideal RCB team (70 crores) : Quinton de Kock (6), Virat Kohli (17), AB de Villiers (11), KL Rahul (8), Sarfaraz Khan (3), Manoj Tiwary/Manan Vohra (3), Nathan Coulter-Nile (5), Yuzvendra Chahal (7), Andrew Tye (5), Umesh Yadav/Trent Boult (5). 

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