Well, immediately, the question that people would pose is Aaron Finch even a good player to start for RCB? The answer is quite simple, he is good enough, he gets better when being appointed as a skipper, with his average of 37.27 as a skipper for the national team, striking 152.98.
For Royal Challengers Bangalore, who failed yet again in the Indian Premier League, after reaching the play-off stage, questions have been raised heavily over the leadership of the team and the man in question - Virat Kohli. For eight long years, with some of the greatest players ever assembled in the history of franchise cricket, RCB have failed to win a single IPL trophy, which is at times staggering, shocking and at the other times, just meme-worthy. Their fans have lost hopes, their skipper, incidentally also revealed that the players before this season didn’t trust the franchise enough.
But that’s the point of concern, just like loyalty, trust is a two-way street, the franchise has to show their level of support in a cricketer for him to flourish. It is not only pertinent to RCB but also to other franchises, who have put their heads and shoulders over continuity. All the teams that have won the IPL have all been built on the basic philosophy of leadership, trust and integrity with RCB not following any of them, at least thus far. Now, 13 seasons later, they have an opportunity to right the wrongs and create a ‘trust-worthy’ future for them. The first step to all of this - continuity.
That’s a word RCB have never, in fact, never ever, built their franchise on, which has more changes than the first draft of a university student writing their dissertation. In fact, they have more changes than even some of the Wikipedia pages and that’s a big concern. The last time RCB retained more players than they bought was in the auction leading to the 2020 IPL. As a result, they were dominant in the first half of the season before self-doubt started creeping in and they went back to being the RCB pre-2018. For RCB, the problem always was continuity, once you don’t trust a player, that is where the bridges burn.
It has burnt in the past - Chris Gayle and it will burn in the future as well but that’s where they will have to start trusting their players. This season, Shivam Dube, Devdutt Padikkal, Washington Sundar, and Mohammed Siraj, all of them have been good and that really lies down to how much the franchise has put their faith in them. Moeen Ali is another one such all-rounder, who they have backed for the longest time but never have given him the opportunity to shine, which is where the continuity factor comes in. Let’s put it this way, RCB are no Rajasthan Royals but neither are they Mumbai Indians, where the plans are well-defined.
In fact, if anything, they are in the league of CSK, MI and others when it comes to superstars but all of it dies right in front of how the franchise operates. Sports are tough, IPL is tough, where the results more often than not define the franchise but more than that, the capability of the team and the confidence factor triumphs it all. Having the best of assets in a non-performing entity is a mere shadow self of the asset. That is exactly what RCB are at the moment, as they have always been and the change their require is - continuity and that can’t really be assured by Virat Kohli, who as a captain has set the worst example of trusting the players.
Be it India or be it RCB, one of the factors that define the Kohli era is how immediate the decisions are and how spontaneously changes are made. That has cost India, remember the World Cup semi-final? It has cost RCB several tournaments, remember the 2016 IPL Final and it continued to haunt them in the 2020 edition of the IPL! RCB isn’t the worst set unit but they are the worst led unit, in terms of how they trust their players to overcome the challenges. On paper, Sunrisers Hyderabad looked miles and miles out of touch when RCB were running away at the top of the table.
What brought them back in the mix are three things - stability, confidence, and a certain Australian opener at the helm. Three things that not only have assured them of a stable unit, willing to trust one another but also has assured them a result. RCB need to take the same approach, they need to break the Kohli-shackles, to take them out of shambles. Yes, it is a powerful statement but it is also the truth, probably why it’s the most powerful. The franchise has to retain their management, keep Mike Hesson intact alongside Simon Katich and look at Aaron Finch to rebuild the team. In fact, if there is one thing that Finch has done in the past, is rebuild the side from the shambles - taking Australia from nowhere to a force to reckon with, all by trusting his players.
As Australia’s captain, Finch doesn’t guarantee you a success rate of 100% as some of the centres out there but rather creates stability in the core group, which shows a difference in the results. Prior to Finch taking over, Australia had always had to deal with a misfiring Glenn Maxwell, who more or less was terribly confused by his role in the team but since Finch took over, the roles have been clearly mentioned, which has, in turn, turned his fortune over. Now, Australia stands at the top of the rankings for T20Is, way way ahead of their closest competitors England, which is just a sign of how much he brings to the table, both in terms of his tactical nuances and responsibility that he likes to shoulder.
With the franchise having a more or less set side, it would be the perfect scenario for RCB to go all out with Finch as the captain before the reshuffle in the future. At RCB, the franchise just needs the same thing to be done, they don’t need an entirely new team but they need to adapt themselves acutely to a new tactical system, where their roles are fixed.
A large part of their failure this season underlines that factor - with several questions raised regarding that. Who’s the opener, what does Kohli do, what is the role of Chahal and how to use Navdeep Saini. Plenty of questions that they have failed to answer but that’s not the only thing, their clarity over their roles too was glaringly missing. Towards the end, against SRH, in a desperate attempt to patch things up, RCB brought back Finch in the middle order and opened with Kohli but in reality, they should have always played the same team and backed them for at least one season before turning a blind eye.
This RCB unit is not bad, they just lack the confidence, which unfortunately doesn’t stem up from the captain, who itself currently looks like he’s struggling to sum his role up. In short, RCB needs a change in leadership but not at the top level but in the level where their gameplans don’t get affected, in the captaincy role. Aaron Finch is just the right step for a safe future as trusting Kohli looks like a bad ploy, over and over again! And, the franchise should not even be looking to burden AB de Villiers, with the role, as that would only mean that he wouldn't make that big an impact on the proceedings.