Challengers get first XI in order

Challengers get first XI in order

 Three-time runners-up Royal Challengers Bangalore focused on filling the void left by the sudden departure of Mitchell Starc, loosening their purse strings for English pacer Tymal Mills and uncapped India pacer Aniket Choudhary.

RCB, who announced on Sunday that they’ve decided to part ways with Starc as the Aussie wanted to focus more on international cricket, bought left-armer Mills for a whopping Rs 12 crore. They also fought hard to acquire the services of another left-arm pacer, Rajasthan’s Aniket Choudhary, procuring him for Rs 2 crore -- 20 times his base price.

“Our strategy is very clear. We need to get our first XI in order,” said RCB chairman Amrit Thomas. “Our ground is really small and our first innings score is roundabout 190. Especially with Starc not available, Tymal Mills was a great buy. We would’ve done whatever was required to get him.”

Thomas allayed any fears that Tymal, who shone for England during last month’s T20I series with his clever mix of fast and slower deliveries, won’t be available for the full length of the IPL considering England will be hosting Ireland and South Africa in May. “He’s a T20 specialist in our estimate and our view is that he will be available.”

Although Starc’s announcement came as a surprise to many, Thomas said it was planned in advance. “It was planned. I think this is a game about the product on the field. Players create the product on the field. When you have internationals players who have a tough workload, you need to find a solution. We love Starc. I hope he’ll be part of our plan as we go forward. Given the workload fast bowlers undergo, it’s hard. If we had insisted, he would’ve come in with that workload and increased the risk. It’s as per regulations.”

RCB, who entered the auction with Rs 17.825 in their bank, made three more purchases. Well-rounded in the batting department with the likes of superstars Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Shane Watson in their ranks, they splurged Rs 1 crore on left-arm orthodox bowler Pawan Negi. Bengaluru’s Praveen Dubey, who played for Hubli Tigers in last edition’s Karnataka Premier League, was bought for Rs 10 lakh and budding Australian pacer Billy Stanlake was picked up for Rs 30 lakh.

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