The Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) were one of the most active teams in the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL) auction. Mike Hesson and Co. weren't hesitant to splash the cash as they signed Glenn Maxwell and Kyle Jamieson for a combined sum just short of INR 30 crores.
RCB also snapped up young Indian batting talents Mohammed Azharuddeen, Suyash Prabhudessai and Rajat Patidar, apart from experienced campaigners Sachin Baby and Dan Christian.
The wait for their first title never seems to end for RCB, but we might just see it happen when we least expect it.
RCB's predicted playing XI for IPL 2021
This year's IPL is still months away, but we attempt to predict what RCB's ideal playing XI will look like.
RCB's squad for IPL 2021: Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Devdutt Padikkal, Md. Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Joshua Philippe, Pavan Deshpande, Shahbaz Ahmed, Adam Zampa, Kane Richardson, Daniel Sams, Harshal Patel, Mohammed Azharuddeen, Sachin Baby, Rajat Patidar, Glenn Maxwell, Kyle Jamieson, Dan Christian, Suyash Prabhudessai, KS Bharat
Openers: Devdutt Padikkal, Josh Philippe (wk)
The uncapped Devdutt Padikkal was RCB's leading run-scorer in IPL 2020, ahead of even Kohli and De Villiers. That's how brilliant his debut campaign was, and he'll want to take the next step to the national team as soon as possible. Padikkal has had a calming influence at the top of the order for RCB, and his consistency will serve his team well in IPL 2021.
Azharuddeen and Bharat have opened the batting before in T20 cricket, while Kohli himself has an outrageous record as an opener in the IPL. However, following the departure of Aaron Finch, RCB are likely to open with Josh Philippe.
Philippe was the third-highest run-scorer in this year's Big Bash League with 508 runs at a strike rate of 149.41, and he will come into the tournament high on confidence. He will also take the responsiblity of the gloves away from AB de Villiers, who'll be free to focus completely on his batting and fielding.
Middle Order: Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers, Glenn Maxwell, Sachin Baby
RCB captain Virat Kohli will stroll in at the fall of the first wicket. Kohli didn't have a great season last year by his standards, although he had patches of the form he showed back in 2016. He will look to get back among the runs (and centuries) in IPL 2021 and extend his lead at the top of the list of all-time league run-getters.
AB de Villiers will, of course, be the man to bat at No. 4 for RCB in IPL 2021, provided the team decides to put all experiments involving Washington Sundar aside. The South African has showed no signs of rust despite having retired from international cricket, and it's certain that he'll win at least a couple of games single-handedly for the side.
RCB's newest splurge in the auction involved signing Glenn Maxwell for INR 14.25 crores - 4 crores more than his price last year. The team has taken a massive gamble on Maxwell, and you get the feeling that this move could either go astoundingly well or nightmarishly poorly.
The Aussie all-rounder didn't hit a single six in IPL 2020 and his strike rate barely touched three figures, but he has been in good form for his country in white-ball cricket. Maxwell also had an above-average individual season for the Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash this year. RCB will hope that he comes to the party in IPL 2021.
The No. 6 spot is a bit of a problem for RCB after releasing Gurkeerat Mann and Shivam Dube. An uncapped batsman has to take the spot, and the options available are Pavan Deshpande, Mohammed Azharuddeen, Suyash Prabhudessai, Rajat Patidar and Sachin Baby.
Baby seems to be the best possible choice. He is more suited to a middle-order role than the rest, and having played in the IPL previously, has the experience needed to navigate the fag end of the innings.
If RCB want to boost their bowling department, they could even opt to play Harshal Patel, who is more than capable of wielding the willow.
All-rounders: Washington Sundar, Kyle Jamieson
Washington Sundar has established beyond doubt that he's extremely capable with the bat, and he could be one of RCB's key players in IPL 2021. Always economical and reliable with the ball, the all-rounder is primed to have the best season of his IPL career so far.
Following Sundar will be RCB's other massive purchase, Kyle Jamieson. The tall Kiwi has had a remarkable start to his international career, and averages 56.5 with the bat and 13.27 with the ball in Test cricket. This is another gamble from RCB, who have spent a significant amount of money on a player not yet proven in T20 cricket.
But Jamieson certainly seems like the real deal on paper, and RCB could have a generational cricketer on their hands.
Bowlers: Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Siraj, Yuzvendra Chahal
The bowling attack for RCB in IPL 2020 will bear a familiar look. Pacers Navdeep Saini and Mohammed Siraj, both of whom are in and around the Indian team across formats, will serve as the specialist pacers.
The ever-reliable Yuzvendra Chahal will be the final bowler in the RCB playing XI for IPL 2021. The team's leading wicket-taker may not be too eager to return to the Chinnaswamy Stadium, but he'll look back on his previous performances at the venue with fondness.
Kane Richardson, Daniel Sams and Adam Zampa will wait in the wings for an overseas slot to open up.
RCB's predicted playing XI for IPL 2021: Devdutt Padikkal, Josh Philippe (wk), Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers, Glenn Maxwell, Sachin Baby, Washington Sundar, Kyle Jamieson, Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Siraj, Yuzvendra Chahal