Ahead of the 11th edition of the Indian Premier League, the BCCI has released the guidelines for the auction and the much-awaited retention policy for the participating teams.
IPL 2017 was a season to forget for the Royal Challengers Bangalore as nothing went their way. Virat Kohli missed the initial part of the tournament due to an injury which left the team unsettled. Also, opener KL Rahul’s absence owing to a shoulder injury left a hole in the batting lineup. Rahul had played an important role in the 2016 edition of the IPL, which was RCB’s most successful season so far.
There is considerable pressure on the Red Army to put on a solid show and mount a strong challenge for the 2018 IPL title.
Here are the players that Royal Challengers Bangalore should absolutely retain (3 retention + 2 RTM card) for the 2018 season:
1. Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli, the captain of the Indian cricket team, has represented the Bangalore based franchise every single season since the inception of the tournament in 2008. In the 2011 edition of the IPL, RCB had retained only Kohli from their team of 2010, sending all the other players into the auction pool. This shows the importance of the Indian skipper to the team.
The prized possession of RCB has captained the team in the past five seasons after Daniel Vettori’s retirement. His record as a captain has been phenomenal, having won 35 of the 70 matches between 2013 and 2017.
IPL 2016 was a memorable season for him as he scored 973 runs in just 16 innings at an average of 81.08, becoming the first batsman to score four centuries in a single season of the tournament in the process.
He should definitely be retained by RCB
2. AB de Villiers
A hard-hitting batsman, a part-time wicket-keeper, and one of the best fielders in the world, there is nothing AB de Villiers can’t do on a cricket field. The experience he carries and the strength he brings to the team are just incredible. He has been one of the three pillars of the RCB team in the past few seasons, the others being Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle.
He has been part of the RCB team since the 2011 edition of the tournament when they bought him for a whopping $1.1 million.
Since then, he has become a crucial batsman for the franchise by transforming the top-order into a power-packed unit. The former South Africa skipper has scored a total of 1200 runs in the 8th and 9th editions of the tournament. He will be close to the top of the list of players likely to be retained by the Royal Challengers.
3. Yuzvendra Chahal
The attacking leg-spinner has been one of the key bowlers in the RCB team in the recent past. His wicket-taking ability is one of his biggest strengths and this makes him Virat Kohli’s go-to bowler in critical situations.
RCB bought Chahal at his base price of Rs. 10 lakhs in the 2014 edition and he grabbed this opportunity very well, bagging 70 wickets in just four seasons. It was his IPL performances that brought him onto the radar of the Indian selectors who spotted his talent and rewarded him with an international call-up. So far, he has been quite successful in international cricket, scalping 22 wickets in 13 T20Is at an economy of 7.31.
Playing for RCB, he finished as the 3rd highest wicket-taker in the 2015 edition and 2nd highest wicket-taker the following season, falling just two wickets short of claiming the Purple Cap.
4. KL Rahul
KL Rahul is one of the most elegant batsmen among the present generation of openers. He was bought by RCB in the 2016 edition of the IPL where he showed his brilliance, scoring 397 runs in 14 innings at an average of 44.11. His strike rate of 146.49 was one of the biggest positives for RCB in the 2016 edition.
He has been a regular face now in the Indian Test and T20 teams. Rahul missed the 2017 edition of the IPL owing to a shoulder injury, leaving a big hole in the RCB line up right at the top. Even Australian great Ricky Ponting considered Rahul’s absence at the top one of the reasons behind RCB’s failure.
5. Chris Gayle
Chris Gayle does not need any introduction when it comes to T20s. The hard-hitting Caribbean batsman has been the pillar of the RCB team ever since he was bought in the middle of the 2011 season as a replacement for the injured Dirk Nannes. On his day, Gayle has the ability to win matches single-handedly.
Chris Gayle is a hard hitter of the white ball and can take apart bowling attacks with ease. The left hander is the only player to score over 10,000 runs in T20 matches, with as many as 18 centuries and 65 fifties. The big man with a heavy bat has hit 872 sixes in the T20 format. He is also the first ever cricketer to score centuries in all three formats of the game.
During his memorable stint with RCB, Gayle has consistently shown his big-hitting ability. He smashed 175 from 66 balls during the 2013 season and broke many records in the process. The destructive opener has hit five centuries by maintaining a strike rate of 151.20. Although he is a shadow of his old self, the left-hander can still produce match-winning knocks in T20 cricket.