RCB failed to tap local talent?

Virat Kohli. AFP File Photo

As the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s embraced another underwhelming season in the Indian Premier League, the thoughts of the fans again turned to a glaring lacuna — the lack of local players in the squad.

The Challengers stare at the wooden spoon, with just eight points from 12 games before their penultimate league tie against Rajasthan Royals on Tuesday at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. They have just one homeboy in Devdutt Padikkal, who hasn’t got a game yet.

The fans in Bengaluru have been forced to find joy in the performances of Karnataka players in other teams, with K L Rahul, Shreyas Gopal and Mayank Agarwal producing fine performances in the 12th edition.

Rahul, who was surprisingly not retained by RCB last year, was lapped up for a whopping Rs 11 crore by Kings XI Punjab.

Leg-spinning all-rounder Shreyas has been a revelation this season for Rajasthan. The Royals, in their ranks, also have the experienced all-rounder Stuart Binny who has sparkled in the limited opportunities he has received.

Like Punjab, Royals too have three Karnataka players with K Gowtham being the third.

In contrast to RCB, there are two teams — Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians — with three or more local players in their squads. Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals, thriving in this edition, have two players from their respective states.

However, when it comes to local representation, RCB aren’t the worst. Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders don’t have a single local player in their squads.

Before the start of this edition, the RCB coaching staff had unveiled a different plan. “It (spotting local talents) is indeed the vision of the franchise. The owners have asked me to pay extra attention to this,” Gary Kirsten, just after his appointment as RCB’s coach, had said in August. It doesn’t seem like the franchise scouted for gifted players from the Karnataka Premier League, State’s popular T20 league.

Last time when RCB had three players from Karnataka — Rahul, S Arvind and Binny — they scripted a terrific comeback to storm into the final in 2016.

Fans, obviously, are keen to see the local boys don the red and black. “We have told the management that we need more Karnataka players in the side. Many players from here definitely deserve a chance,” says Preetham from Namma Team RCB, a fan group.

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