Sanjay Manjrekar has opined that Virat Kohli-led RCB don't have a great mix of players despite boasting X-factors like Virat, AB de Villiers and Yuzvendra Chahal. Manjrekar also reckoned that the Indian Premier League 2020 in UAE will have greater influence from Indian players than ever before.
For only the second time in the tournament history, UAE will host the IPL. Unlike the last time around in 2014 when it only hosted few games, this time around the whole IPL is set to be staged in the country across three venues - Sharjah, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi. Former Indian batsman Sanjay Manjrekar has said that he feels the 2020 IPL will be more significantly impacted by Indian players than ever before given the 'sluggish' nature of the decks in UAE.
"Finally, this IPL is likely to be very “Indian” in nature. Indian players may have a greater impact on it than they have ever had before. As for me, how bold or foolish of me to be making predictions about a T20 tournament! But then, I also think we have been given a neck so that we can stick it out sometimes", Sanjay Manjrekar wrote in his column for Hindustan Times.
Indian and RCB skipper Virat Kohli is buoyant about his team's hopes this time around and had even termed the present squad as the most balanced since 2016 when they last made it to the finale. But Manjrekar has an opposite opinion as he doesn't think the Kohli-led RCB have a good mix of players.
"RCB simply do not have a great mix of players. Much of the impetus of winning the title is found at the auction tables. RCB, obviously, have the X factor with Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Yuzvendra Chahal, but then they have had them for the last few years now. Let’s hope with Aaron Finch by Virat’s side, they can conjure up some magic, like they did towards the end of the last IPL. And yes, looking at Finch’s form at the top for Australia, he must open for RCB," Manjrekar said.
The 55-year-old also said that the 13th edition of the lucrative league will be played in the third gear as UAE has “average score of 155” kind of pitches and he also wondered whether the teams will have the arsenal to match the needs of playing in the UAE.
"That the whole of IPL, a total of 60 matches, will be played in the UAE makes this — the conditions — the moot point. We may all get a bit of a surprise if the pitches turn out to be different from what we are expecting; historically, the three venues—Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi—are known for sluggish pitches with low bounce. These are your “average score of 155” kind of pitches. In India, in the last two IPLs, the average 1st innings score was about 170. Never has 200 been successfully chased in a T20I in the UAE. So it’s likely that this IPL may be played in third gear. Which means, teams are suddenly looking at themselves and thinking, do we have the arsenal for this kind of challenge? The franchisees picked the squads in December 2019, assuming that matches were going to be played in India." he said.