Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) made heads turn as they released key players like Australian speedster Josh Hazlewood, Sri Lankan spinner Wanindu Hasaranga, and Indian all-rounder Harshal Patel on the IPL 2024 retention deadline.
The team, now under new management led by head coach Andy Flower, seems to have specific strategies as they head into the auction on December 19.
With a total of 7 slots to fill, including 4 overseas slots, RCB has a remaining purse of Rs 23.25 crore for the upcoming mini-auction. Notably, Australian all-rounder Cameron Green was acquired from Mumbai Indians after the retention deadline, involving a trade with Hardik Pandya going the other way.
Under Flower’s leadership, RCB seems focused on revamping their bowling attack, retaining only four pacers: Mohammed Siraj, Vijay Kumar Vysak, Reece Topley, and Akash Deep. The team released 11 players on November 26, with a significant emphasis on bowlers.
Explaining the decision to release Harshal and Hasaranga, Flower highlighted the team’s priority to boost their auction purse for increased flexibility. It’s worth noting that Harshal and Hasaranga were acquired for Rs 10.75 crore each in the IPL 2022 auction and were retained in 2022.
Regarding Hazlewood, Flower revealed that the pacer won’t be available for at least the first half of IPL 2023 due to expecting his first child in March 2024. Despite Hazlewood’s impactful performance in 2022, securing 20 wickets, Flower emphasized the need for flexibility.
Flower also confirmed the team’s intention to reacquire David Willey in the auction after his successful stint in the World Cup 2023 and subsequent retirement from international cricket.
In summary, RCB’s release of key players and strategic focus under Flower’s management indicate a deliberate approach as they gear up for the IPL 2024 auction.