One of the few teams never to win an IPL title, Royal Challengers Bangalore set to enter another auction with hope. Hope to finally get off the mark in their trophy cabinet. At the IPL retention, they released 11 players most of which were bowlers. With the likes of Wanindu Hasaranga and Josh Hazlewood no longer at their disposal, RCB are in desperate need of a couple of impact bowlers and some solid lower-middle order batters.

Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis need some solid support from the middle-lower order(RCB)

The highlight for RCB at the retention was the announcement that they have traded Cameron Green from the Mumbai Indians at a whopping 17.5 crore. With Hardik Pandya returning to MI, it was only sensible to let go Green, despite a sparkling IPL 2023 season with the franchise that saw the big-hitting Australian score 452 runs including 100 not out. Having said that, RCB’s true challenge lies in utilising Green well, and taking a leaf out of MI’s book.

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RCB chasing finishers

Dinesh Karthik is no longer the batter he was in IPL 2022. In fact, it was a struggle for DK just last season where he scored just 140 runs compared to 330 the year before. Even though he is expected to make the starting XI, depending solely on DK is a tactic RCB won’t dare to risk. They need another strong option near him to get the job done, and what better than acquiring the services of Shahrukh Khan. No. 6 or 7 will be tailor made for him to explode and launch RCB. He may not have had the greatest of outings at the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, but keeping in mind RCB’s requirement, Shahrukh fits the bill given the dimensions of the Chinnaswamy Stadium.

Also Read: What CSK need to do at IPL 2024 auction to create history

The idea of Green as a finisher is equally tempting but based on what transpired last season, it is a well-established fact that Green’s skills are best harnessed at the top of the order. In Faf du Plessis, Virat Kohli, Rajat Patidar and Glenn Maxwell, RCB’s top five is sorted but it wouldn’t be the worst idea to slot in Green in the top three for the occasional game – mostly on free-flowing decks – to help provide the innings some impetus.

Where are the bowlers?

Among the current stock of bowlers, only Mohammed Siraj and David Willey can be considered automatic picks in the XI, which then leaves room for three bowling options. Death bowling due to the size of the ground has never been RCB’s thing, with a whopping 23.50 crore purse, RCB are likely to break the bank over a couple of left-arm quicks and a genuine spinner. Mitchell Starc and Gerald Coetzee could be the answer to RCB’s puzzle. Starc knows what it’s like to play for the franchise – he had represented RCB in 2014 and 2015 – having picked 34 wickets at an average of 20.38. If reports are to be believed, as many as five IPL teams have already reached out to the Australian quick and coming off a stellar World Cup campaign that culminated with Starc and his teammates lifting the title, why not?

Coetzee, meanwhile, is coming through the ranks quickly, and with a record of 57 wickets from 31 T20s, could be the fix to their bowling woes. Coetzee was South Africa’s leading wicket-taker with a tally of 20 at an average of 19.80, particularly impressive in his second and third spells, indicative of a strong head of his shoulders. The sight of Starc, Coetzee and Siraj bowling in tandem could be a living nightmare for any batting line-up in the world. Landing a quality spinner can then complete the line-up of this team. Letting go Hasaranga was a shocker – he had a good IPL 2022 with 26 wickets but picked just 9 from eight games this year – but do not rule out the possibility of RCB going after him again. If not, Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb-ur-Rahman can be another catch, or any spinner exuding the same lion-hearted spirit as Yuzvendra Chahal.

Purse remaining: 23.5 crore

Slots remaining: Six (three overseas)

Likely Indian picks: Shahrukh Khan, solid lower-middle order batters

Overseas picks: Mitchell Starc, Mujeeb-ur Rahman, Wanindu Hasaranga (repurchase)

Players retained by RCB

Faf du Plessis, Glenn Maxwell, Virat Kohli, Rajat Patidar, Anuj Rawat, Dinesh Karthik, Suyash Prabhudessai, Will Jacks, Mahipal Lomror, Karn Sharma, Manoj Bhandage, Mayank Dagar (trade), Vyshak Vijaykumar, Akash Deep, Mohammed Siraj, Reece Topley, Himanshu Sharma, Rajan Kumar