Which players should RCB target in the IPL mini auction?
RCB have retained their core players for the IPL 2023 [Source: Twitter]
They always enter the IPL with some iconic players in their lineup. Their fans follow them wherever they go and make noise whenever they play. But despite having the ablest troops and unwavering support, they are yet to introduce a trophy to their cabinet.
Yes, you guessed it right. The team under discussion today are the perennial underachievers in IPL history, the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
RCB didn't surprise anyone during the retentions, releasing only five players they trusted the least in the IPL 2022. Currently, they have just over 8 Crores in their purse, so they will likely remain dormant, especially during the auction for high-budget picks. But they still have some puzzles to solve regarding their first-choice lineup, as mentioned below.
Maxwell's injury and Dinesh Karthik's poor form
To RCB's misfortune, Glenn Maxwell recently broke his leg, ruling himself out from the England series. It has been reported that the swashbuckling Australian all-rounder will be out of action for two to three months.
So, if Maxwell recovers in February, he will get only a month and a half to prepare for the IPL 2023. Amidst this uncertainty, RCB will likely buy one player, who they can use as a spin hitter in case Maxwell misses some matches.
Another thing bothering RCB at the moment is the poor form of their first-choice finisher Dinesh Karthik. Yes, they will back him to the hilt, but what if Karthik's abysmal form costs them some matches?
So, they must think of buying a keeper-batter to slot down the order, as Finn Allen and Anuj Rawat bat at the top.
Heinrich Klaasen: The Solution to RCB's twin problems
Heinrich Klaasen in action [Source: Twitter]
A low-budget pick who can solve both these issues for RCB is Heinrich Klaasen. The South African keeper-batter has a plethora of experience in T20s and can be a potent weapon against spin in the middle overs.
Heinrich Klaasen vs Spin in middle overs in T20Is: 245 Runs, Average: 30.6, Strike Rate: 147.6
In another move, RCB might ask Mahipal Lomror to counter the right-arm leg spin and slow left-armers and demote Klaasen to maul pace in the death overs.
Heinrich Klaasen vs Pace in death overs in T20s: 161 Runs, Average: 53.7, Strike Rate: 198.8
Adam Milne: A solution to Josh Hazlewood's unavailability?
As the Ashes is scheduled in June, ace Australian speedster Josh Hazlewood might miss the IPL towards the business end of the tournament.
Although RCB have David Willey, who can be a potent force with the new ball, his inclusion might leave the team with Mohammad Siraj as their only reliable option in the death overs.
So, they might target some low-budget overseas pacers in the mini-auction. Adam Milne is a decent name they might consider, especially looking at his impressive performance in the slog overs since 2020 (14 Wickets at an economy of 7.89, Dot Percentage: 46.1).
They have two overseas slots to fill, and considering their budget, these two are the best they can afford.
Apart from these two names, I expect RCB to be interested in some domestic batters (keep an eye on the local talent Manoj Bhandage) and pacers to fill the remaining slots in their squad, as they will finally be looking to break the jinx this year.