The Virat Kohli-led side has a dubious distinction to erase. They are only side in IPL to have made the most finals (three times) without winning the title. With a batting line-up to die for, even without Chris Gayle, the Bengaluru franchise once again start as one of the strong contenders but it remains to be seen if they will reverse the trend.
Bowling and middle-order batting have been their weaker points for some years now and RCB attempted to address this issue in the last auction where they bought hard-hitting West Indian batsman Shimron Hetmyer, Mumbai all-rounder Shivam Dubey and Delhi paceman Navdeep Saini. They also traded Sarfraz Khan for Aussie all-rounder Marcus Stoinis and Kohli has pinned big hope on him.
Besides Stoinis, RCB possesses a host of foreign all-rounders but the question remains as to how they strike the right balance.
Once again batting is going to be their greatest strength with the likes of Kohli, AB de Villiers and Hetmyer in the top four. They have added more variety to their pace unit and Nathan Coulter-Nile’s availability is a big plus. Spin department appears to be in the effective hands of leggie Yuzvendra Chahal.
There are myriad all-rounders but none of them provides a bankable fifth-bowling option. Another issue for RCB is the potential absence of Aussie duo of Stoinis and Coulter-Nile who will join only in April and will leave early for World Cup preparation as does England’s Moeen Ali.
Virat Kohli (skipper), AB de Villiers, Parthiv Patel (wk), Moeen Ali, Mohammed Siraj, Colin de Grandhomme, Shimron Hetmyer, Marcus Stoinis, Devdutt Padikkal, Shivam Dubey, Heinrich Klassen (wk), Gurkeerat Singh, Washington Sundar, Pawan Negi, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Yuzvendra Chahal, Tim Southee, Navdeep Saini, Umesh Yadav, Kulwant Khejroliya, Himmat Singh, Prayas Ray Barman.