Starc, Albie boost Bangalore attack

Starc, Albie boost Bangalore attack

Boosting their bowling attack was the primary goal of Royal Challengers Bangalore coming into the auction, and they did reasonably well on that front while acquiring some handy names on Wednesday.

The most prominent among them was Australian left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc, who can touch the late 140 kmphs often and has the ability to rattle the best with incoming deliveries from over the wicket. The Vijay Mallya-owned franchise also added the pacy Varun Aaron to their line-up from the auction and along with Starc, the Jharkhand lad can form a potent combination.

Royal Challengers also procured all-rounder Albie Morkel, who had played for Chennai Super Kings in the earlier seasons. The South African is a canny customer with the ball and also a ferocious hitter and his assault on Virat Kohli at the MA Chidambaram stadium two seasons back would still be fresh in many minds.

The Bangalore outfit also bought experienced Bengal pacer Ashok Dinda in their bid to strengthen the bowling, their Achilles Heel in the previous two seasons when they finished fifth.

The purchase of legendary offie Muttiah Muralitharan could add some sting to the spin department even considering the fact the Sri Lankan is now 41. West Indian pacer Ravi Rampaul, who had joined RCB last season, too managed to keep his contract with the team, while experienced Zaheer Khan was off-loaded and later he was snaffled by Mumbai Indians.

However, Royal Challengers apathy towards local players were shocking to say the least. Karnataka skipper R Vinay Kumar had led the RCB attack well in the absence of injured Zaheer last season and the right-arm pacer also had a wonderful domestic season, spearheading the state’s triumphant run in Ranji Trophy and Irani Cup. But the Royal Challengers decided not to even bid for Vinay, who was drafted in by Kolkata Knight Riders. Opener Robin Uthappa and pacer Abhimanyu Mithun too encountered similar fate.

When auctioneer Richard Madeley announced Uthappa’s name to the house for bidding the camera immediately zoomed to RCB camp but there was no response from them.

The hard-hitting Kodava man was eventually snapped up by Knight Riders for Rs 5 crore. Mithun, however, encountered an even more harsh fate as none of the franchise bid for him. The right-arm pacer had bagged 41 wickets in the Ranji Trophy, but that wasn’t enough for the teams to bid for him.

Now, a bunch of young Karnataka players will come up for auction on Thursday in the uncapped category, and hopefully, they will find a favourable nod from the local franchise.

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