IPL 2022: Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) stock up after mega auction to prepare for life after captain Virat Kohli


Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) seemed to be well-prepared with a clear plan in a chaotic IPL 2022 auction as they followed a safer route in what will be an important seasons for them with Virat Kohli stepping down from the helm. Even though their strategy wasn’t without loopholes, they didn’t panic, and bid for specific players, unlike some other sides. Mike Hesson, the Director of Cricket Operations at RCB, before the auction, had hinted that they would focus on experienced players, and their auction went along the same lines.

IPL 2022: Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) squad with best playing XI

While they could’ve done better, RCB have ended up with a decent squad in the end. They have fine backup players as well to step in if they want to change combinations or personnel. With correct strategies, pre-match planning, and proper resource utilisation of resources, the Red Army should realise their potential and will put up a good fight to qualify for the playoffs. Here is the detailed squad analysis of RCB, after IPL 2022 mega auction.

IPL 2022: Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) Batting Unit

Coming to what transpired at the auction, RCB had to get a replacement of the retired AB de Villiers, a wicket-keeper batsman, and some left-handed spin power-hitters. It was admittedly a tough auction, but RCB could have been more Shrewd with their choices.

While they have high-ceiling players in Virat Kohli, Faf du Plessis and Glenn Maxwell, and they will enjoy batting depth with floaters, they will need to make smart decisions to get the best out of their resources.

Faf, despite being a captaincy choice for the management, was a questionable buy, more so at 7 crores INR. It’s quite head-scratching to figure out how they would manage Kohli and Faf together in the top-order. Hesson confirmed that Faf will bat in the top-orderand unless they push Kohli down to No. 4 or No. 5, it’s going to hurt RCB. Also, demoting Kohli to the middle-order is just an assumption and comes with its own big risks.

Kohli and Faf have similar strengths and weaknesses: strong vs pace and slow vs spin, although the former has significantly better numbers in the last two IPL seasons. Both Kohli and Faf strike under 110 against spinners in IPL since 2020. Faf enjoyed the spin shield in CSK, which he is unlikely to get in this RCB set-up.

On that note, Kohli needs to produce better returns to justify his first retention slot. He has a strike rate of under 125 in both the previous seasons, with a boundary-ball percentage of below 12.

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Glenn Maxwell was amazing in the previous season. However, it would be naive to expect the same level of returns from him in the upcoming season as well. RCB should ensure a good support cast for him. They have got the likes of Anuj Rawat, Mahipal Lomror, and Dinesh Karthik to help Maxwell out.

Rawat and Lomror are powerful left-handed batsmen, who can bash spinners turning the ball into them. By the looks of it, the management will have to give clear instructions to Rawat to play with intent. But, both southpaws are quite young and unproven performers at the IPL level – thus, the expectations should be kept in check.

Dinesh Karthik has got the range against pace, and his entry points should be taken care of. However, RCB’s lower middle-order would have been much more solid with an extra power-hitter to partner Karthik.

RCB have also got floaters in Hasaranga, Harshal, and Shahbaz, although none are very powerful or proven performers at the IPL with the bat. But, they can hit mediocre bowling on a few occasions, if used wisely. Hasaranga, in particular, is likely to have the biggest role among the three.

As far as backup batting options who are also likely to come good in the future, Finn Allen, Sherfane Rutherford, and Suyash Prabhudessai are good options and add depth to the squad.

IPL 2022: Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) Bowling attack:

RCB’s bowling seems to have most bases covered on paper. Siraj, Hazlewood, Hasaranga, Harshal, and Shahbaz, with Maxwell & Lomror as part-timers, will form their bowling attack. Jason Behrendorff, David Willey, Siddharth Kaul, Karn Sharma, and other domestic bowlers are their backups.

RCB Royal Challengers Bangalore main bowlers for IPL 2022

RCB’s main bowlers for IPL 2022

Josh Hazlewood and Mohammed Siraj will lead the way with the new ball. Depending on conditions, match situation, and matchups, Hazlewood can bowl even three overs in the powerplay. Wanindu Hasaranga will be the front-line spinner in the middle overs. The other spinners, Lomror, Shahbaz, and Maxwell, will also chip in. Harshal and Siraj will be their death bowlers.

Hazlewood isn’t a popular T20 bowler. However, he is averaging under 20 with an economy of around 7 in T20 cricket since 2020. He is a good new-ball bowler and a decent middle-overs enforcer. But, he isn’t great in the death overs. Since 2020, his balls-per-match ratio in death overs is 4.11, and he has an economy of around 10.

Hazlewood is likely to have a big role in RCB this year, and his performances remain to be seen, particularly on good batting surfaces. The tall Australian pacer may have a decent tournament, but strong power-hitters and quality players of pace will challenge him well.

ALSO READ: Delhi Capitals squad analysis

RCB went all-out for Wanindu Hasaranga as they bought him for a whopping price of 10.75 crores INR. Hasaranga is an all-arounder and has established himself as one of the best wrist spinners in the last couple of years. His main weapon is the googly, which is useful against LHBs as well as RHBs. The management would expect at least decent returns from Hasaranga.

However, it’s fair to be skeptical of his returns on good batting pitches in the IPL. RCB have put all their eggs in one basket, as they don’t have another reliable wrist spinner in their squad (Karn Sharma, unfortunately, isn’t good enough to play as a lead spinner).

The batsmen would be better prepared to face Harshal now, but he has form on his side. If Harshal can continue his good show, RCB won’t face any major trouble in the bowling department.

IPL 2022: Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) Captaincy dilemma and a few more thoughts:

The 37-year-old Faf du Plessis is likely to be RCB’s captain. However, it may backfire if Faf doesn’t perform well, which is a real possibility in RCB’s set-up. But, again RCB don’t have too many options unless Kohli is made the captain again. But if RCB have confidence in Faf, they should go for him.

The roles and performances of Faf and Kohli will have a big influence on RCB’s batting performance. RCB can split Faf-Kohli by opening with Rawat as mentioned in the squad graphic. But, a No. 3 batsman is expected to face plenty of spin, so it’s not a great fix given Kohli’s and Faf’s issues against spin.

RCB have no option, but to hope for good returns from Rawat and Lomror.

RCB will have five players in their strongest XI, who can contribute with the bat as well as ball. Thus, they will have many options to work around with.

RCB’s new-ball bowling is world-class, and they are fine in the other phases as well. Unless the decks are notoriously flat, their bowling attack will have a good tournament.


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