The Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) had a fruitful campaign in the Indian Premier League (IPL) last year. Virat Kohli's men qualified for the playoffs for the first time in 4 years, and although they fell to the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Eliminator, they gave a good account of themselves.
A number of RCB players such as Aaron Finch, Shivam Dube, Umesh Yadav and Isuru Udana underperformed in IPL 2020. All four have been released, along with many others in what is a clear attempt at a revamp.
RCB will look to build around youngsters like Washington Sundar and Devdutt Padikkal, while the old guard of Kohli, AB de Villiers and Yuzvendra Chahal will lend valuable experience to the side.
Retained Players: Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Devdutt Padikkal, Md. Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Joshua Phillipe, Pavan Deshpande, Shahbaz Ahmed, Adam Zampa, Kane Richardson
Released Players: Chris Morris, Shivam Dube, Aaron Finch, Umesh Yadav, Dale Steyn, Moeen Ali, Parthiv Patel, Pawan Negi, Isuru Udana, Gurkeerat Mann
Trades (IN): Daniel Sams, Harshal Patel
Here are 3 areas of concern for RCB ahead of the IPL 2021 auction.
#3 RCB need a backup wicket-keeper
With Parthiv Patel joining the Mumbai Indians in a backroom role, RCB are left without an Indian wicket-keeping option. AB de Villiers and Josh Philippe, both of whom donned the gloves at different points during IPL 2020, are the only two glovemen at the franchise.
De Villiers is better used in the field, and his 36-year-old body might not be able to withstand the rigours of keeping on a regular basis anyway. Philippe, on the other hand, might not be part of the RCB playing XI (although he did have an excellent Big Bash League season for the title-winning Sydney Sixers).
There are very few Indian keepers in the IPL 2021 auction pool, so RCB might have to go for left-field choices like KS Bharat and Mohammed Azharuddeen.
#2 RCB are woefully short of all-rounders
After releasing Shivam Dube, Chris Morris, Moeen Ali, Pawan Negi and Isuru Udana, RCB have only one recognised all-rounder on their roster - Washington Sundar.
Even Sundar hasn't proved himself with the bat in the IPL, so RCB have some serious work to do when it comes to recruiting all-rounders. The team has struggled with the balance of their playing XI in the past, and captain Kohli is known to enjoy a few extra bowling options at his disposal.
RCB might want to sign Morris to a cheaper contract, but they need to look elsewhere in the IPL 2021 auction pool. Shakib Al Hasan and Glenn Maxwell are some high-profile options, and the 3-time IPL finalists may just have the funds to sign one of these players.
Pace-bowling all-rounders are rather hard to come by these days, with Moises Henriques, Tom Curran and David Willey some of the available overseas players. They might have to rely on their existing makeshift choices in Harshal Patel and Daniel Sams.
#1 RCB need solid middle-order batsmen to support Kohli and De Villiers
Perhaps the biggest hole in the team, RCB's middle order needs significant bolstering in the IPL 2020 auction. Assuming that Devdutt Padikkal and Josh Philippe open the innings, followed by Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, the playing XI needs to be filled right from No. 5 to No. 8, apart from backups on the bench.
RCB are completely devoid of middle-order batsmen after the releases of Gurkeerat Mann and Moeen Ali, and they need at least 3-4 players who belong to this category. We've seem them suffer from the same problem multiple times in the past, and Kohli will be careful not to make the same mistake for the umpteenth time.