IPL 2019: Will the Royal Challengers Bangalore ever solve their selection issues?
The Royal Challengers Bangalore has always been culpable of poor squad selection, which has continued to hamper their growth and progress as a franchise. Will they ever solve this lingering issue?
To put it out bluntly, Bangalore’s management often seems clueless and ends up spending big bucks on seemingly low value for money players in the auction table. Building a team is an art, mastered the most by the duo of MS Dhoni and Stephen Fleming.
However, their southern neighbors have been unable to do so this time too, highlighting major issues amongst the leadership group.
The Shivam Dube conundrum:
Ahead of the auctions, Shivam Dube was the most talked about young lad amongst the crop of uncapped players. Many of the franchises would definitely have been interested to lure him, and as it turns out, it seems that landing up in some other team would have helped his progress too.
Having bought Dube for a hefty sum of around 5 crores, the Challengers have played him in only three matches so far. If a team invests money in a player, they have to give him time to get accustomed to the situation too.
This is the first time that Dube is playing in such a high-octane, pressurized tournament and any cricketer would require more matches to really come out on his own and deliver consistently. There have been certain games when Bangalore has struggled to accelerate the flow of runs in the middle, and Dube would have sorted out this problem if he was given more chances.
In fact, in their first encounter against Mumbai Indians, Dube was smart enough to smack Lasith Malinga for a six in the first ball of the last over. Though Bangalore eventually lost the match, it was a clear sign of a player who could embrace pressure and clear the boundaries at will. He has had a breakthrough domestic season, and accordingly entered this season high on confidence.
If given a chance to bat for more number of overs, Dube could have turned into a real asset, as in addition to his batting prowess, he delivers some handful overs of medium pace too. It is often said that it is very easy to weed out younger lads from the playing XI when a team loses, as the blame can be pointed towards them even when it was a collective failure.
Dube was moved out of the playing XI when the Kohli-led team had a losing streak, and he hasn’t been given a second chance yet.
Negi or Sundar, who does Royal Challengers Bangalore choose?
Pawan Negi has hardly been consistent in the IPL ever since his breakthrough 2015 season with the Chennai Super Kings. Now, when entrusted to play as a finisher cum all-rounder for Royal Challengers Bangalore, he is hardly ever been given a full quota of overs to bowl or even bat in the game.
This has somewhat made him a passenger of sorts in the team, which is simply unacceptable in the T20 circuit. On the other hand, the Royal Challengers Bangalore have someone like Washington Sundar in their ranks.
Sundar is a more versatile batsman than Negi, as he can play at the top of the order too. He uses the long handle quite well whenever required, but can, more importantly, bat with a sense of level-headedness, carving open the gaps to notch boundaries and rotating the strike frequently too. Moreover, Sundar’s strengths include bowling a tight stump-to-stump line during the powerplay, thereby restricting the scoring rate in the early part of an innings. Sundar had an economy rate of 6.16 in the 2017 IPL when he played for the Rising Pune Super Giants.
That time, he opened the bowling and stifled the opposition to a great extent. Yesterday, when he finally got a game for Bengaluru, Sundar had come into bowl in the middle overs and not in the start.
What next for Royal Challengers Bangalore?
They have won four of their last five matches, but it still might not be enough to qualify for the playoffs. Maximizing the potential of a diverse squad is of utmost importance in such franchise based tournaments, and RCB have been unable to do so to a full extent so far.
They have a team through which they can build for the future, but whether they the think tank to do so is a bit doubtful.