Royal Challengers Bangalore Director of Cricket Operations Mike Hesson has admitted that AB de Villiers is a wicket-keeping option for the franchise going into IPL 2021.
AB de Villiers donned the gloves for RCB in 13 out of 15 games last year and had a successful time behind the stumps.
With RCB having both domestic and international alternatives for the wicket-keeper’s slot, it is unclear whether AB de Villiers will be their gloveman this season.
Mike Hesson addressed the debate in the latest edition of Bold Diaries. However, he stopped short of confirming RCB’s wicket-keeper for IPL 2021.
“We were delighted with the fact that he (AB de VIlliers) loved it. He embraced it and he wanted to continue doing it. Look he is a real option. We are not going to make that commitment now to you guys in terms of who is going to do what but we are really pleased with the options we have got,” Hesson said.
RCB has several other options this year when it comes to the wicket-keeper slot. New Zealand youngster Finn Allen has been roped in as a replacement for Josh Philippe. The 21-year-old is a proper wicket-keeper batsman.
RCB also has domestic options if AB de Villiers does not keep for them this year. Mohammed Azharuddeen lit up the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy for Kerala, and the batsman’s ability to score quickly is an added bonus.
They also have Andhra wicket-keeper KS Bharat to call upon. The 27-year-old is a specialist keeper who is no mug with the bat.
While answering whether AB de Villiers will keep for RCB this season, Mike Hesson also pointed out the other options available in their squad this season.
“We have now got a couple of options which is great in the squad. Mohammed Azharuddeen is a real natural athlete whether he is with the gloves or in the field. You know we also have got KS Bharat who is a specialist keeper. Gives us different options as well,” Hesson added.
AB de Villiers' wicket-keeping helps RCB’s team balance
There were question marks last year about whether AB de Villiers could sustain wicket-keeping at a high level for the entire competition. The South African ace passed that test with flying colors, having contributed with the bat too.
Check the updated IPL points table 2021 here.
Apart from being a livewire on the field, AB de Villiers smashed 454 runs in 15 games. His strike rate of 158.74 allowed him to play the middle-order enforcer role perfectly, as he finished several games for RCB last season.
His presence as a wicket-keeper has helped RCB tremendously in terms of their squad balance as well.
They can play an additional foreigner if AB de Villiers dons the gloves instead of Finn Allen. It will also enable the franchise to play an extra all-rounder or bowler down the order.