It must be really disappointing for every fan of theirs, the Royal Challengers Bangalore has gone through another season of despair and realization of how the harsh realities our game comes back to haunt you.
The Virat Kohli led side has over the years been dependant on one facet of their game to excel and the other to find a way to support it. You don't win tournaments like that. The history of the Indian Premier League suggests that teams finishing with best economy rate has won the whole thing for about 7 times and the team finishing solely with the best run-rate has never gone on to clinch it. RCB would know this better than anyone else, they have been the team with the best run-rate for five of the eleven seasons gone by but has never won the trophy.
And so, tough decisions have to be taken right now, as part of the preparation for a tournament that is only 12 months away. "Only", if you are desperate for it. RCB should be desperate for it. Time has come for the wheat to be separated from the chaff. Time has come for the cricketing decisions to be not compromised in front of the financial ones.
Time has come to drop the players that are surplus to the team's cause and build the team around the right people.
Hence, the team COC gets down to analyze and put across the list of five players that are unlikely to feature for RCB next year.
1. Brendon McCullum
It must be confessed, it was a huge surprise to those who understand their game when RCB decided to bid and purchase Brendon McCullum in the auctions this January. This is nothing against the player, presence of one of the best limited overs wicketkeeper-batsman will only add value to a team but RCB needed value in their bowling not batting. If cricketing logic had been served RCB would've looked for an overseas fast bowling force to lead their bowling. They need to do that now.
2. Sarfraz Khan
It saddens cricket lovers like nothing else does, when a young cricketer gives you the impression that he isn't realizing the immense potential he beholds. When Sarfraz Khan was retained at the auctions by RCB, it was a surprise but by no means an absolute howler. Backing young Indian talent is what IPL is about. But Sarfraz has disappointed this season and by no means should RCB persist with him as they look to build forward. RCB needs stronger characters, who are willing for the grind and the sacrifices.
3. Corey Anderson
Nothing symbolizes RCB's issues than the fact that they ended up with Corey Anderson to try and protect 15 off the last over against Mahendra Singh Dhoni in a game. They obviously lost it. It was a howler when they replaced Nathan Coulter Nile with a batting allrounder, it is the kind of howler that should never ever be repeated again. It is tough on a determined New Zealand cricketer, but Royal Challengers should consider players like him a surplus.
4. Chris Woakes
At one look he looks a fine player that a team would be happy to have. Then you look one more time, and again, then again..the more you look at it, the closer you look in, Chris Woakes seems such a worse choice to be purchased in the auction for a struggling RCB. With the bowling their biggest issue, RCB brought in a poor death overs bowlers in their camp. That's the problem of having an infatuation with dual skills cricketers, you think you are giving yourself a player who'd balance your team and end up with a cricketer who completely lets you down. Unless Chris Woakes becomes a quality specialist T20 fast bowler, he should not feature in RCB's plans for next year at all.
5. Tim Southee
Imagine Nathan Coulter Nile and Tim Southee, Umesh Yadav bowling together next year, it's a prospect that should excite RCB fans unless you dig deep into numbers. You should think T20 with perceptions of how the other formats are. Tim Southee is a fantastic Test bowler and a very fine ODI bowler but his T20 credentials are questionable. His economy rate in the powerplay and at the death is quite high, and so unless he becomes a better T20 bowler in a year's time RCB shouldn't be too interested in him.