Ian Bishop feels that it’s high time for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) to draft all-rounder Moeen Ali into the side, who he believes will add plenty of balance due to his ‘two in one’ ability with both bat and ball. Bishop further championed for skipper Kohli to open the batting for the Reds.
Virat Kohli is a skipper known for quirky, out-of-the-box selections and his decision to pick uncapped Australian Josh Philippe ahead of the experienced Moeen Ali has come as a rather bizarre move. Moeen, last season, with a wondrous economy rate of 6.76, was RCB’s most economical bowler, but he was also, on top of that, their primary finisher, scoring 220 runs at a strike rate of 165.41. His replacement, Philippe, has failed to make a mark thus far this season and thus the place of the young Western Australian in RCB’s XI remains the biggest talking point ahead of the side’s clash versus Mumbai Indians.
Cricketer-turned-commentator Ian Bishop believes that it’s high time for Kohli to draft Moeen into the side. According to the former Windies pacer, RCB will get ‘two players in one’ by picking the veteran all-rounder.
“I’d like to see Moeen Ali in because he would add some balance to the middle-order batting, but he’ll also give them another bowling option. So you get two players in one, and that’s what I like about it,” Bishop said in ESPNCricinfo’s ‘T20 Time-out’.
Sanjay Manjrekar, in the same show, meanwhile, opined that it would be wise for RCB to give the gloves to AB de Villiers, as it would free-up a foreign slot. The former Indian batsman also entertained the idea of Moeen coming into the side but expressed that the need of the hour for RCB might actually be an extra bowler, be it a leg-spinner like Zampa or a death-over-specialist like Isuru Udana.
“If AB keeps, then two new foreign players can come in - maybe both Moeen Ali and Zampa. Or maybe you could try someone like an Isuru Udana, because Steyn and Umesh Yadav together have been expensive. Also the fact that Washington Sundar has just bowled three overs in two matches, he hasn’t really contributed as an off-spinner, so if Moeen Ali comes in, then he strengthens the batting as well. But more than Moeen Ali the bowler, I’d be tempted to have Zampa the bowler,” Manjrekar said.
Analyzing RCB’s batting, Bishop also stated that it is a no-brainer for Virat Kohli to open the batting due to his outrageous record batting at the very top. Kohli, as an opener in the IPL, averages 48.72, as compared to the 31.83 in other positions (No.3 to No.7).
“I do feel the numbers for Kohli as an opener are overwhelming, it might be early in the tournament, but Virat’s stats as an opener are overwhelming,” Bishop said, expressing that he wanted Kohli to open for RCB.
Manjrekar, however, disagreed with his West Indian compatriot and said that a Kohli-Padikkal opening partnership might backfire due to the similarity in styles. The 55-year-old stated that Aaron Finch “has” to open in order to add full value to the side.
“If Virat and Padikkal both open, I’m seeing two similar approaches at the top. Something I’ve felt right from the start is if Finch has to add full value to this team, he has got to open. Because he has been in the IPL before, somebody has batted him down the order and that seemed to sort of diffuse him as a batsman,” said the former Indian cricketer.