Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) are always one of the strongest teams on paper in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Every year, they start as one of the favourites to win the tournament, but somehow fall short of the mark. Last year, they reached the final of the tournament, but could’t cross the final hurdle as Sun Risers Hyderabad (SRH) led by their dynamic skipper David Warner won the match and lifted the trophy.
This year, RCB have added more fire power to their arsenal and they would be hoping to win the IPL for the first time in 10 years. In the auction, RCB invested heavily and focused on buying young Indian talent along with foreign T20 specialists.
Here, we look at their likely playing XI for the tournament.
Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle
Last year, Virat Kohli made a bold move to open the innings for RCB and it came out very well. He was not only RCB’s star performer with the bat but also broke almost every batting record in IPL history. He smashed consecutive hundreds and led his side almost single-handedly to the final of IPL 2016. On the other hand, the big Jamaican Chris Gayle wasn’t in the best for form in the last season, but he did play a good knock in the final and you can’t keep the big man out unless he is unfit to play.
Number 3, 4 and 5
Bangalore’s local boy KL Rahul will bat at number 3, followed by AB de Villiers and Shane Watson. De Villiers can move up and down the order according to the situation but he will most likely bat at number 4 for the majority of the tournament.
Number 6, 7, and 8
Kedar Jadhav performed brilliantly for India in the ODI series against England earlier this year. Jadhav emerged as a good finishing option for India and he can also bowl a bit. To add more stability to the lower-order, RCB must play Jadhav at 6. For the number 7 spot, RCB have three players to choose from; Stuart Binny, Sarfaraz Khan and Pawan Negi. This position will be decided on the basis of playing conditions and strengths/weaknesses of the opposition.
Iqbal Abdullah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Tymal Mills and Aniket Choudhary.
Players added: Pawan Negi (1 Cr), Tymal Mills (12 Cr), Aniket Choudhary (2 Cr), Praveen Dubey (10 lakh), Billy Stanlake (30 lakh)
Players retained: Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle, Yuzvendra Chahal, Harshal Patel, Mandeep Singh, Adam Milne, Sarfaraz Khan, S Aravind, Kedar Jadhav, Shane Watson, Stuart Binny, Samuel Badree, Iqbal Abdulla, Travis Head, Sachin Baby, Avesh Khan, Tabraiz Shamsi.