IPL 2017: Ricky Ponting believes squad imbalance is reason for RCB's poor showing
The Australian legend feels that the RCB think-tank made a mistake by not paying much attention to the side's bowling department.
What’s the story?
Former Australian skipper and coach of the Mumbai Indians, Ricky Ponting, weighed in on RCB’s dismal showing in the tenth edition of the IPL claiming that squad balance is the primary reason for the poor showing from the Virat Kohli-led franchise.
While the 42-year-old admitted that KL Rahul’s absence due to injury has been a big factor as well, he feels that RCB focussed too much on bolstering their batting department, leaving the side to fight it out with a below-par bowling unit.
"They're paying a few players a great chunk of their salary cap. That leaves the rest of your squad very exposed and I guess that's what’s happening to them (this season) to a certain degree,” Ponting said. "They play on the best wicket and the fastest, shortest ground which is probably why they've loaded up on the batting side of things. But they need to try and put together the best defensive bowling side they can because a lot of the time that's what wins you T20 games."
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Despite missing the likes of KL Rahul and Australian speedster Mitchell Starc, expectations were high from RCB with the formidable trio of Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, and skipper Virat Kohli, seeming a daunting task for any opposition.
They have flattered to deceive though as the 2016 IPL finalists languish at the bottom of the 2017 IPL points table with just 5 points from 13 games. The much-famed batting line-up has come up short on many occasions, most notably being bowled out for just 49 against KKR at Eden Gardens – the lowest team total in the tournament’s 10-year history.
The heart of the matter
Despite boasting a star-studded line-up since the inception of the IPL, RCB have always come up short when it really mattered. The 2017 IPL season has been by far the worst though as the side has capitulated in disastrous fashion often going down without even putting up a little fight.
With only a game left to play, their season is done and dusted and Ponting feels that with all the players heading into the auction next season, it is high time that the RCB think-tank took a decision to change their focus from style to substance. According to him, the expectations from the explosive batting line-up of RCB have done them more harm than good.
The Australian legend believes that contrary to popular notion that cricket is a batsman’s game, it is the bowlers who hold the key to making the most impact, especially in the T20 format of the game. With too much focus being placed on the likes of De Villiers, Gayle, and Kohli, the RCB’s bowling unit have lacked a proper leader and that has been exposed very badly during this IPL season.
With the IPL heading into its business end, the race for the knockout spots of the tournament is heating up. RCB though has nothing but pride to play for in their final game against Delhi Daredevils on Sunday.
Ponting does make a lot of sense in his assessment of RCB’s failures this season but it is something that was always going to be a concern with RCB’s over dependence on their batting.
With most of the pitches being catered to benefit the batsmen, it is the bowlers who end up making the difference as the likes of Jasprit Bumrah has shown for Mumbai Indians. As Ponting suggested, we could well see RCB rethink their strategy for the next edition of the IPL by assembling a much more balanced side.