Expectation always surrounds the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) at the start of an IPL season, and IPL 7 will be no different. However, the reality is that RCB are one of the great underachievers of the competition ever since its inception.
They have managed to qualify for the knockout stages three time, though have yet to secure their first title, but have also three times failed to get out of the qualifying group.
There was little surprise ahead of the 2014 auction, that RCB had retained the services of their captain Virat Kohli, as well as T20’s most destructive hitter, Chris Gayle, and the world class South African middle order batsman AB de Villiers.
RCB purchased the most expensive player of 2014, when they shelled out an astonishing INR 14 crore, for Yuvraj Singh, although the recent form of the ‘’Punjab Powerhouse’’ wouldn’t justify that sort of contract in any way. RCB will be hoping that Yuvraj returns to his mercurial best, or they may find themselves regretting the huge outlay.
There would be little argument that RBC will have the most attractive, and potentially explosive batting line up on display in IPL 7, with Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh and AB de Villiers all likely to figure in the first choice XI, and Indian wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel an INR 1.4 crore signing and Vijay Zol providing some extra local spice.
Mitchell Starc the Australian has been added to the squad to lead the pace attack, where he will be backed up by, Varun Aaron, Ashok Dinda and Ravi Rampaul. It will be interesting to see how Muttiah Muralitharan performs in what is expected to be his last season in the IPL.
He is still capable of great feats, but time does appear to have taken the constant edge from his game, and his hold over batsmen diminishes with each passing season.