Royal Challengers Bangalore lost to Kolkata Knight Riders in the eliminator to exit IPL 2021. Yet again, the Bengaluru-based franchise failed to lift the trophy. The focus would now shift to IPL 2022, where the team can make a few changes to the squad. In this article, we take a look at a playing XI RCB should target for 2022 by making just 4 changes to the playoff XI that lost to KKR.
The retention rules are yet to be published by BCCI. However, as per the latest reports, a team could be allowed to retain two players apart from getting the option to exercise 2 RTM cards at the auctions. Hence, the existing franchises could retain four members of their core unit for IPL 2022.
Openers in the XI RCB should target for 2022: KL Rahul (C&WK) and Devdutt Padikkal
With Virat Kohli stepping aside from captaincy, RCB’s biggest headache will be to find a new captain. For the fans, the dream signing will be KL Rahul. There are also reports running around that KL Rahul could part ways with Punjab Kings. Hence, RCB re-signing KLR could be a possibility.
Devdutt Padikkal has struggled in recent games, but he has got the potential to become better. Moreover, he is a tall left-hander, and this will be useful at the top. When IPL shifts back to India, DDP will be a force to reckon at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Middle-Order: Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers
Virat Kohli’s strike rate in the middle-overs has dropped way too low. IPL 2022 is likely to happen in India and on those pitches, it would be best if Virat bats at No.3. With him opening the batting, RCB will be at the risk of losing a big wicket early in the innings. Hence, Virat must bat at No.3.
If AB de Villiers does not retire, RCB should back him and retain the South African. Although he is getting close to 40, with respect to fitness and skills, ABD still belongs to the top bracket.
All-Rounders in the XI RCB should target for 2022: Glenn Maxwell, Ben Stokes and Washington Sundar
Glenn Maxwell was RCB’s best player in IPL 2021. The franchise must try to retain him or buy him back at the auctions. At Chinnaswamy, Maxi would be a hit as the short boundaries and the pitch conditions will help his game. RCB must plan for life after ABD, and Maxi would be a decent option to start with.
With his injury record, RR might not retain Ben Stokes. RCB need an experienced all-rounder in place of Dan Christian. It would be preferable if the player is a left-handed batter. Stokes is the best option at the moment. Having groomed him in the last four years, RCB should try to buy Washington Sundar for the next cycle, too. It is in the next three years that Washi will hit his peak. He will replace Shahbaz Ahmed in the playoff XI.
Bowlers: Harshal Patel, Mitchell Starc, Mohammed Siraj and Yuzvendra Chahal
Although it is not sure if Harshal Patel would find similar success in Chinnaswamy, his recent record has made him deserve an opportunity. With sufficient backups, RCB must re-sign Harshal Patel.
Usually, the foreign pacer in the squad must lead the bowling attack. However, in RCB’s case, George Garton was the least experienced pacer in the XI. If RCB should improve, they should have someone of the likes of Mitchell Starc or Kagiso Rabada as the realistic target.
Mohammed Siraj and Yuzvendra Chahal should be tried and retained back by RCB. If RTM cards are available, one of these two will surely be retained. The duo is doing well and deserves more chances in the franchise.