A lot riding on big guns

A lot riding on big guns

Team in focus

A lot riding on big guns

It’s staggering that a team which has in its ranks players like Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers – in between they also had Dale Steyn, Jacques Kallis, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, Kevin Pietersen, Manish Pandey,  Robin Uthappa and Yuvraj Singh -- doesn’t have a single IPL trophy.

Perhaps the answer also lies in the three aforementioned names. It is but natural that you expect these three players do bulk of the job but when that expectation turns into overreliance then it prevents the unit from performing to its full potential. The Royal Challengers Bangalore’s journey has somewhat been like that.

They have been losing finalists in 2009 and 2011 but in between they have been largely inconsistent. It’s an area they would like to address as they head into a new season.

Though the absence of Aussie paceman Mitchell Starc through a foot injury is a big blow to their prospects in the tournament, the two new acquisitions – Shane Watson and Stuart Binny – should help them strike better balance. Both pace-bowling all-rounders, Watson and Binny not only provide four-five overs between them but also the firepower in the middle-order. The advantage with Watson is he can either be used upfront or floated down the order as a finisher depending upon the requirements. The form of Kohli is obviously the biggest plus for them and if Gayle remains fit and firing and De Villiers continues his good run, the Challengers can’t ask for more. Aussie batsman Travis Head, who made his international debut against India early this year, also is a big hitter and should Gayle be unavailable with injury, he provides a perfect replacement.

It remains to be seen if de Villiers will also take up wicket-keeping responsibilities. If not, then either KL Rahul or Kedar Jadhav will have to wear the big gloves. Head also can keep wickets.

In the absence of Starc, Kiwi Adam Milne will have chance to build on his World T20 show while local pacers – S Arvind and Varun Aaron – will have a big role to play along with leggie Yuzvendra Chahal. There is a doubt over West Indian leggie Samuel Badree who hurt his shoulder during World T20 final.

The off-field issues pertaining to ownership patterns are unlikely to affect the men on gold and red as they seek to claim the elusive trophy.

The squad: Virat Kohli (captain), AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle, David Wiese, Mandeep Singh, Sarfaraz Khan, S Aravind, Varun Aaron, Shane Watson, Adam Milne, Stuart Binny, Travis Head, Yuzvendra Chahal, Sachin Baby, Iqbal Abdulla, Praveen Dubey, Akshay Karnewar, Kane Richardson, Abu Nechim, Harshal Patel, Kedar Jadhav, Samuel Badree, Vikramjeet Malik, Vikas Tokas, KL Rahul, Parvez Rasool

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