RCB's Director of Cricket Mike Hesson has insisted that he was pleased with the balance of the Reds’ squad, and revealed that the side will be looking to pick players, particularly bowlers, based on the conditions. Hesson added that RCB will further be looking to get the best out of Glenn Maxwell.
Ahead of the new season, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) released more players than any other franchise, but were also the busiest side in the auction, purchasing 8 players, whilst also bringing Daniel Sams and Harshal Patel to the roster on a trade deal with Delhi Capitals. The franchise retained their core from the 2020 season, which helped the side reach the knockouts for the first time in four seasons, and at the club’s disposal is now a dynamic squad that boasts of a plethora of players who bring a wide range of skill-sets.
With RCB slated to play their group games in four venues which provide starkly different conditions - Wankhede, Chepauk, Eden, and Narendra Modi Stadium - the club’s Director of Cricket Mike Hesson asserted that the club will be looking to employ a ‘horses for courses’ strategy, which will see them pick players - specifically bowlers - according to conditions.
"We've still got 7-8 from our core from last year. So it's certainly just a matter of tweaking our backup players, providing more depth in terms of straight swaps,” Hesson was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.
“If we want to change the style of play at a particular venue, there might be certain grounds where we need the bowlers to bowl more cutters. There might be certain grounds where we'll want bounce bowlers, there'll be some that'll turn a lot and we'll need left-handers to bat in the middle. There are a number of different factors and I'm really pleased with the balance of the squad we've got. We've got a squad of 22. Sure we made progress, but we strive to get better."
One such player who could come handy on wickets like the Eden and the Narendra Modi Stadium will be New Zealand’s Kyle Jamieson, who RCB purchased for a staggering 15.00 crore. Despite Jamieson endured a rough time in the shortest format after getting picked by the Reds,tHesson insisted that the tall speedster will be invaluable for the team in conditions that will provide ample pace and bounce.
"We talked about using certain bowlers in certain conditions. In some grounds you want someone who predominantly bowls cutters, some grounds the ball swings and there's bounce - Jamieson will be deadly in what he's able to do," he said. "So once again it's a complement of skills in terms of that balance of what we require on certain days. Obviously with the bat, he's got some skills there as well in terms of being a power player,” Hesson said.
More than Jamieson, the signing that attracted eyeballs was that of Glenn Maxwell, who, despite having been underwhelming in the IPL for six seasons, was purchased for a whopping 14.25 crore. Over the past half a decade, both Delhi and Punjab - twice - have failed in getting the best out of the Victorian, but Hesson is confident that RCB can make the all-rounder click. The former New Zealand coach attested that Maxwell ‘fits into’ what RCB's need in the middle order, and claimed that it would be of paramount importance for the franchise to utilize the Aussie in such a way that his skills get maximised.
"Glenn Maxwell is a fantastic player, and he fits into what we require in the middle order. We want some X-factor players, that high-impact player we've talked about. We've just found, through the middle overs as an area [to work on], so to have another player of that quality just adds to the likes of AB de Villiers and a two-pronged attack through the middle overs and the back end. We know on his day, he can turn a game on its head.
"We need to use him in a space where we can maximise his skills and we've certainly spent some time looking at how we can do that," Hesson said. "[We're] really looking forward to working with him and preparing over the next few days to be really clear around his role. He is about to spend a few days amongst his peers, the people he's going to be batting with, and get to understand that role implicitly. Really important we do that. Also from a bowling point of view, we know he adds some good skills in that area. Amazing fielder, also adds some leadership in terms of how he goes about things, highly experienced, so we can't wait to have him onboard."