If one thing has remained unachieveable in the cricketing career of Captain Virat Kohli, it is the Indian Premier League (IPL) title. In his seven years of captaincy now, the challengers remained challengers and never could be the winners. The 2019 season saw them finishing last among four teams yet again being over dependent on Ab-Kohli and lack of strong bowling attack.
It is time for the RCB to overhaul themselves completely, putting an end to a predictably disheartening pattern they come up with every year or be shown the door for a more competent side.
Yes, it might sound stupid or surprising for the RCB supporters but that is the way to go about it. In fact, changing Kohli as the captain might not be too bad an idea for the team has anyhow hit a dead end. Captaining for seven years at a stretch is not something small but since the captain hasn’t been able to earn anything significant in this time (best performance was to make the final in 2016 while they made the last four only twice), a change can always be a refreshing step.
One of the biggest drawbacks for RCB has been the captain’s tactical errors. Kohli kept on making changes in the team frequently, thereby giving the players very little time to settle and deliver.
Another poor season will certainly give rise to a voice against the ace batsman’s captaincy but changing him beforehand can help him save his grace. Let Kohli do the batting bit and leave the top job to somebody who has a better reading of the T20 game. One must remember that Kohli also falters more in T20 cricket as the national captain compared to other formats. If he himself steps down, it will be the best thing to happen for the RCB.
2. Backing Local Players like Dubey and Devdutt Paddikal
One of the biggest reasons why the Challengers have done badly in this IPL is their over-reliance on a few players, mainly batters, and they include Kohli and AB de Villiers. The exit of Chris Gayle a season back has removed the third leg of their batting trio and every time it’s either of the two arms that the RCB look up to for scoring.
The Royal Challengers is one such franchise in the IPL which is more obsessed with the big names. Earlier it was Gayle and now it is Kohli and ABD. The strange part is that the team attaches equally less importance to the home-grown talents. A number of Karnataka’s own talents are flourishing for other sides. Devdutt Paddikal didn’t feature even in one game last season. In my view, RCB had quality local players like Milind Kumar, Himmat Singh but they don’t give them chance to showcase their abilities. They should learn from Mumbai Indians on how to nurture the local talents.
RCB drops young talents from their team frequently and that never allows either the players or the team to settle. The franchise goes on losing games with little improvement because the core of the team is always being disturbed.
3. Having a fixed opening Batsmen
We saw RCB opting for too many opening combinations, hoping that one or the other will deliver. Kohli himself opened with wicketkeeper-batsman Parthiv Patel while Moeen Ali and Shimron Hetmyer also chipped in as openers in other games.
RCB should bring Shai Hope in the auction and make him open with Virat. They should release Southee, Coulter Nile, Colin De Grandhomme to free up overseas quota.
A lot of successful teams in the IPL have set openers who have their roles defined but not so much in the RCB, especially after the exit of Chris Gayle. In fact, Kohli their best batsman himself prefers to bat at No.3 which is also his spot in the Indian limited-overs team. Despite the lack of a stable batter to take up that role, he has had to move up the order, he might have got the runs but it still leaves the middle order vulnerable.
On the same front, they backed Hetmyer for the first four games and then he was dropped for the next nine, ultimately in the final game of the season, he got a go and made it count with a match-winning half century. A better understanding of talent and its utilization can certainly bring about a change in fortunes.
4. Recruiting quality Pacers
Players like Dale Steyn do not really add value to a T20 side now. There is no doubt about their talents but it is fitness that has kept him on the sidelines. Withdrawal of ageing players mid-way into the tournament doesn’t help the team’s cause, especially when it is left wanting in the bowling department.
They must buy Pat Cummins and Mustafizur/Mitchell Starc to bolster their bowling attack. It will surely create a huge impact on other bowler’s mentality too.
5. Picking best overseas Combination
They never play proper overseas Combination in any match. Either they go with one less bowler or one more batsman. They must have balanced overseas combination with 2 batsmen, 1 allrounder and a bowler.
Colin de Grandhomme has been with the team for a while without a significant impact while Heinrich Klassen, Hetmyer and Tim Southee remained largely unutilised in the RCB team. Only de Villiers and Marcus Stoinis got to play a meaty role for which again showed that the management wasn’t too convinced about picking the right overseas players over a long period.
It is important for a team with the name and the eyes following it to deliver or perish. If the Royal Challengers Bangalore cannot get the results it promises better relegate the team and bring in a new eight franchise.