IPL Preview # 7 - Royal Challengers Bangalore

The other comeback team, besides the Deccan Chargers - they finished in 7th place in the first season, having bought "too many Test players" and last year, they began just as badly under Kevin Pieterson. When he left, though, Kumble took the reins and led the team to the finals via his own performances and getting the best out of others. BRC depends heavily on its Indian players, and Jacques Kallis too. They've got a bunch of South African players, probably something to do with having a South African coach.

One key factor to their success is how Dravid has batted - he has shown that he's no crab, he can pull out the big shots like anyone else, and when he hits that ball, he hits it hard. Kumble has lost none of his guile in retirement and was among the top wicket-takers last season. Jacques Kallis has been great too, consistently scoring and taking wickets, while Ross Taylor was able to pepper his favored legside area with several sixes. The young batsmen, Kohli and Pandey held their own, with the latter becoming the first Indian to score a century in the IPL. Uthappa, the other player BRC snagged from Mumbai (besides Pandey) got a couple of decent innings in, but is still skilled in throwing his wicket away. The bowling is strong too, Dale Steyn leading the pace attack with other consistent bowlers like Praveen Kumar and R Vinay Kumar, and Abhimanyu Mithun has made a decent name for himself since last year. Dillon du Preez is a very good bowler to have as cover. Van der Merwe, if he plays, can stop the flow of runs alongside Kumble, and he can employ the long handle too.

Jesse Ryder had a disastrous tournament, struggling to get off the mark for the most part. He hasn't recovered from his injury yet and has been replaced by Steven Smith, a very useful bowler who is very capable with the bat. Eoin Morgan is a stellar buy, and they didn't even pay that much for him. He's a perfect lower order game-changer.

The squad is -

Anil Kumble (capt), Jacques Kallis, Shrivats Goswami, Bhuvanesh Kumar, Eoin Morgan, Abhimanyu Mithun, Virat Kohli, Robin Uthappa, Dale Steyn, Cameron White, Kevin Pietersen, Rahul Dravid, S Sriram, Manish Pandey, R Vinay Kumar, KP Appanna, B Akhil, Steven Smith, Praveen Kumar, Mark Boucher, Dillon du Preez, Ross Taylor, Roelof van der Merwe.

The Indian players are easy to pick, but the overseas players are numerous and tough decisions will have to be made. This is what I think should be the XI -

Manish Pandey
Jacques Kallis
Rahul Dravid
Virat Kohli
Ross Taylor
Eoin Morgan
Robin Uthappa (wk)
Praveen Kumar
Dale Steyn
Anil Kumble (c)
R Vinay Kumar

Tough call there on Boucher not playing, but I felt Morgan needed to be included and Uthappa is an adequate keeper. It's what makes him more useful. It was easy to drop Pieterson, he's having a terrible run, and I'm not sure if Mithun has done enough to replace successful bowlers like Praveen Kumar and Vinay Kumar. Considering the battering Steyn got from Sehwag recently, I think on a flat or turning track Steyn could make way for van der Merwe or Steven Smith.

My Official-sounding prediction for BRC this year: Semi-finalists. They fared exceptionally last year, and racked up good scores in the T20 CL too, and the side looks even better than it did before due to the enhancement of some players' reputations.

Next up, the final preview, that of the Mumbai Indians. Woo. Until then, catch the annoyingly catchy BRC tune.


Great preview. I agree, I think the best thing about RCB has been the way Dravid's batted. It's amazing to see him doing what a lot of the other senior Indian players have tried, and failed, to do.

although this is sort of disturbing:


there seems to be a rofl-ross-rahul love triangle happening.

Thanks! Yeah, Dravid has proved his consistency in all formats now!

Wow that's picture's awesome!
I don't know what's funnier - the picture itself, or the fact that it came from the official website, lol.

haha I know right, what are RCB trying to say? team harmony is one thing, love triangles are another.

and dravid should be ordered to have that expression on his face at all times.

Kohli, Pandey, Taylor and Morgan, this lot are looking good. I'd wager Morgan might be a better bet with the gloves than Uthappa, certainly another option in any case.

Taylor will be the trump card I think, I've seen him play some of the most spectacular innings imaginable over the last 12 months, if he tees off, it'll be spectacular and the game is as good as over.

I also think Pietersen will banish his demons against Bangladesh and they'll have him in the side...at least I hope he does for England's sake!

@ bucva - Yeah, what's Vijay Mallya trying to overcompensate for with all those cheerleaders, hahaha. Not that anyone's complaining.

@ GreenJJ - Ok, I didn't know Morgan was an occasional keeper (as Cricinfo says), but Uthappa would play either way as there's no adequate Indian replacement, so it doesn't make too much of a difference who keeps between them, they're both good fielders too.
I agree about Taylor, but I guess in this team he's used as more of a finisher. Of course, no one minds the odd 40 off 15 balls!
I wouldn't mind Pieterson getting back into form, but who would he replace? I definitely want to see Morgan play!

@ Alex - I wouldn't say White's out of the reckoning, I just prefer Morgan playing. White hasn't done well in India in the past.

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