Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) have been regarded as the perennial underachievers of the IPL since it’s inception. Despite having a plethora of superstars, they have been unable to play as a unit and put together match-winning performances. However, they were steady in the last two years and managed to develop a core group of players, which took them to the playoffs in both seasons.
Prior to the mega auction in 2022, RCB will endure a big transformation in their squad. Fans were heartbroken when former South Africa cricketer AB de Villiers announced his retirement from all forms of cricket.
In addition, Virat Kohli relinquished his captaincy duties for the Bengaluru-based franchise. They have retained Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell and Mohammed Siraj ahead of the mega auction and released some high-profile players.
In the article, we take a look at three players RCB could have retained instead of any of the current retentions:
1. Yuzvendra Chahal
In this list, Yuzvendra Chahal is a no-brainer. He is the only RCB product who has produced match-winning performances for whichever team he has played for. Chahal has been a part of the RCB team since 2014, and he and the fans share a special bond. After his release, his supporters were distraught, and the franchise must be expecting to reclaim him in the auction.
With an average of 22.28, Chahal took 139 wickets for the Bengaluru franchise. Given that he bowled at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, his economy rate of 7.59 is quite impressive. Because of its short boundaries and batting-friendly pitch, RCB’s home ground, Chinnaswamy, is a burial ground for all bowlers.
Chahal, on the other hand, was able to weave his magic and outsmart the opponent with his skillset despite the odds. His comeback after a lacklustre first half of the IPL drew a lot of attention. He was left out of the Team India’s 2021 T20 World Cup squad, but his performances sent a strong message to the selectors.
Chahal is a very intelligent and skilled bowler who can bowl at any point of the game. By tempting batters to hit him down the ground, he has been able to take key wickets. When he receives assistance from the pitch, his bowling capabilities improve dramatically, making him a lethal bowler. As a result, given the leg-track spinner’s record, RCB may not be able to reclaim him at the auction.
2. Harshal Patel
Harshal Patel, the Purple-Cap holder for the IPL 2021, was also released by RCB ahead of the mega auction. The Haryana speedster took 32 wickets, equaling Dwayne Bravo’s record for most wickets taken in an IPL season. He played a key role in RCB’s campaign in 2021, taking the bulk of the wickets in the death overs.
The 31-year-old, primarily, resolved RCB’s death bowling woes, which had been a recurring issue since the very beginning. Against the Mumbai Indians, he took a five-wicket and a four-wicket haul, including a hattrick. He was exceptional in the middle overs and at the death, delivering precise yorkers.
He also had a deceptive slower one in his arsenal that tricked most batters. When compared to someone else’s slower ones, his took a significant dip. When the pitches were sluggish and the boundaries were larger, this attribute made him more lethal. He replicated his IPL success at the international stage, winning the ‘Player of the Match’ award in his debut T20I.
He’s also a competent down-the-order batter who can tonk the ball if necessary. This multifaceted skill may get him a lot of money at the mega auction, and RCB will have a hard time buying him back.
3. Devdutt Padikkal
The 20-year-old Karnataka opener, Devdutt Padikkal, was touted as the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s future superstar. However, owing to the dynamics of the mega auction, he was released from the franchise despite performing consistently well. He was RCB’s leading run scorer in 2020, earning him the title of ‘Emerging Player of the Season.’
In the 2021 season, he maintained his momentum, scoring a brilliant century against the Rajasthan Royals. The Royals were blown away by his blazing knock, and RCB won by 10 wickets. He went on to play a few more supporting roles for the team. He was able to amass 400 runs in both the seasons contributing majority amount of the runs for his franchise.
The southpaw, however, was criticised for his strike-rate and lack of ability to play quality spin bowling. Despite these shortcomings, he is regarded as a prodigy who has the potential to become the future face of any franchise he represents. Given his age and track record, he might make a major impact at the mega auction.