The sixteenth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) came to a close with Chennai Super Kings (CSK) lifting their fifth title. The MS Dhoni-led team defeated Gujarat Titans (GT) in the summit clash to become the team with the joint-most number of IPL titles. Meanwhile, it was another trophyless season for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) who bowed out of the tournament from the group stage.
Coming on the back of three playoff qualifications in a row, RCB were expected to make it to the knockout stage once again. The team started well, with a comprehensive win over Mumbai Indians (MI). However, two defeats in the next two games took away the momentum and it all came down to winning the last group-stage game in order to qualify. It did not happen and RCB and their fans had to walk back disappointed.
There were quite a few reasons for RCB’s failure this season and one of them was their evergreen issue- over-reliance on a few players. While earlier it used to be Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle, and AB de Villiers, this time it was Faf du Plessis, Virat Kohli, and Glenn Maxwell in batting and Mohammed Siraj in bowling.
RCB had a fragile middle order and an unstable bowling attack which cost them quite a few games. Nevertheless, as with every season, it is time to move on for the franchise and its fans and rebuild the squad. Although a mega auction is too far, RCB can build a good squad at the IPL 2024 Auction. But before that, they will need to let go of a few players.
Here are the four players RCB can release ahead of IPL 2024 Auction.
Dinesh Karthik had a dream run at IPL 2022 after he was roped at INR 5.5 CR by RCB at the mega auction. The wicketkeeper batter scored 330 runs at a staggering average of 55 and at a strike rate of 183.33. However, in IPL 2023, Karthik could not even score half of the runs he scored in the previous edition. In IPL 2023, the RCB wicketkeeper managed 140 runs at an average of 11.67.
With Anuj Rawat coming good off the blocks and doing a fine job behind the wicket, RCB might consider letting go of Karthik. They can instead bring a young wicketkeeper who can replace Rawat if needed.
Just like Dinesh Karthik, Harshal Patel’s form has also hit rock bottom. After ending IPL 2021 as the leading wicket-taker with record 32 wickets, Patel managed only 19 and 14 wickets in the next two editions. While Patel was at least economical in IPL 2022, the pacer failed to contain runs in IPL 2023. Also, the pacer is being paid a hefty amount (INR 10.75 Crore). Releasing Patel will free up a good amount which can be used by RCB to get a hand on good overseas bowlers or emerging domestic talents.
Shahbaz Ahmed has been with RCB for a few years now and has dished out decent performances. However, he has failed to give that assurance to the management that he can be trusted with finishing job. While Ahmed was a regular feature in the RCB playing XI in IPL 2022, the all-rounder played in only ten games in IPL 2023. With him getting a salary of INR 2.4 crore, RCB management might think about freeing up a slot.
New Zealand batter Finn Allen has been with RCB for quite some time now but he is yet to make his IPL debut. The swashbuckling batter fails to find a spot because Faf du Plessis and Glenn Maxwell take up the two overseas slots plus fitting Allen in the top order would be a troublesome task for RCB management. Hence, letting go of him and getting in a domestic bowler could be a good choice for RCB.
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