Hyderabad: Virat Kohli has been on the top of the game for quite some time now. He has been regarded as one of the modern day greats – not just in terms of skills but also in terms of fitness levels. He sets high standards to himself and to the team pushing the bar higher every day.
However, when it comes to the Indian Premier League, despite Kohli leading from the front with the bat on many occasions, his team never managed to win the title. Despite having a star-studded line-up, they have failed to lay their hands on the glittering Trophy although they have reached final three times.
The last edition, which was held in UAE, showed much promise to their fans as the Bengaluru side topped the table for some time in the first phase of the season winning seven out of their first 10 games. But they lost the last four games on the trot in the final league phase and were knocked out in the Eliminator by Sunrisers Hyderabad to return empty-handed once again.
However, they found a new star in opener Devdutt Padikkal who topped the batting charts for them, ahead of the likes of Kohli and AB de Villiers. Padikkal scored 473 runs while Kohli managed 466, a below par show by his standards. ABD too contributed with 454 runs.
With the new season, Kohli sees another opportunity. While his deputy in the Indian team Rohit Sharma has five IPL trophies to his name, Kohli is desperate to get his first. With Kohli declaring that he would open, they have a strong batting line-up at the top. Padikkal is also in great form in the domestic season hitting 737 runs, second best after Prithvi Shaw (827), including four centuries on the trot in the Vijay Hazare trophy. However, he will miss at least a match after testing positive for Covid-19. They have made two big purchases in the auctions this year by buying New Zealand pacer Kyle Jamieson and Australian power-hitter Glenn Maxwell. While Maxwell fetched 16.25 crore, Jamieson attracted a huge price of Rs 15 cr. However, they let go of utility all-rounders Moeen Ali and Chris Morris who could have been handy for them lower down the order.
Bowling has been their weak link on many occasions. Yuzvendra Chahal had a good last season taking 21 wickets. Since then, Navdeep Saini made India debut in Tests while Mohammed Siraj emerged one of the new-found star of the country in Test format but they lacked white-ball practice and known to leak too many runs. All-rounder Washington Sundar too made a name for himself both in white-ball and red-ball cricket. With Adam Zampa, old-horse Daniel Christian, Jamieson and Kane Richardson, they have good bowling. But RCB’s fortunes will depend on how their bowling unit performs given that the batting unit, on most occasions, will do their part.
Domestic: Virat Kohli (C), Devdutt Padikkal, Sachin Baby, Rajat Patidar, Suyash Prabhudessai, Pavan Deshpande, Mohammed Azharuddeen, KS Bharat, Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar, Shahbaz Ahmed, Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Siraj, Harshal Patel
Foreign: AB de Villiers, Glenn Maxwell, Josh Philippe, Adam Zampa, Kane Richardson, Daniel Sams, Kyle Jamieson, Dan Christian
Key Players: Virat Kohil, AB de Villiers, Glenn Maxwell
Coach: Simon Katich
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