5 Indian Players Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) could bid for in the IPL 2022 Mega Auction
After two promising seasons on the trot where they made the playoffs, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) will be entering the IPL 2022 Mega Auction with eyes on the trophy, aiming to reconstruct their squad and make a stronger push for their longstanding goal.
RCB retained three players – their former skipper Virat Kohli, explosive Australian batter Glenn Maxwell and young speedster Mohammed Siraj – and have a remaining purse of INR 57 crores heading into the anticipated mega auction in Bangalore, scheduled for February 12 & 13.
While overseas players will definitely be in consideration, a major focus area for RCB will be to identify the strongest possible Indian signings that they can make. In this, the team will be hoping to get some of their bright performers back while also looking to spread the net wider and bring in few new faces.
With this in mind, here’s looking at a list of RCB’s most likely Indian bids at the forthcoming auction.
Five of RCB’s strongest possible Indian picks at IPL 2022 Mega Auction
1. Shreyas Iyer
With RCB eyeing a new captain to take the team forward, Iyer has emerged as their most likely Indian pick at the auction. The Indian middle-order batter has strong captaincy credentials in the IPL, having taken Delhi Capitals (DC) to the final of the 2020 edition in UAE and previously the playoffs of the 2019 campaign.
Iyer parting ways with DC has given RCB a great opportunity. He is also a very solid anchor, whose presence would allow RCB to keep Kohli at the top of the order even as their middle-order looks a touch vulnerable after the departure of AB de Villiers, who has retired from all cricket. Iyer has made 2,375 runs in his IPL career with a strike-rate of 123.95.
2. Ishan Kishan
Definitely up there among the most likely high-prized auction signings, Ishan Kishan, is a package that few teams would like to let go of. The Indian international wicketkeeper-batter has been an aggressor with the willow. But what makes Kishan stand out is the fact that he can jump up the order and do the middle-order duties depending on his team’s needs.
With RCB eyeing an Indian wicketkeeper, who can replicate the good work that KS Bharat did for them last season, Kishan is one of the players they are expected to go after. The left-hander didn’t have the best of IPL 2021 but scored a whopping 516 runs from his 14 innings in IPL 2020 for Mumbai Indians (MI).
3. Harshal Patel
Having to let go Harshal Patel would’ve been an emotionally difficult call for RCB, as the Haryana speedster was their and the tournament’s highest wicket-taker of IPL 2021. Harshal took as many as 32 wickets in the competition and emerged as his team’s strongest death-bowling option.
Yet, he had to enter the IPL 2022 Mega Auction after losing the race for retention to other candidates. However, that doesn’t mean RCB can’t still have their Indian quick back. The think-tank will definitely consider bringing Harshal back into their fold.
4. Washington Sundar
Sundar is another of RCB’s investment picks, who they identified as their future hero. The India and Tamil Nadu spin allrounder was a major missing piece in RCB’s puzzle last season where his injury meant they lacked an extra quality defensive spin option, especially in the powerplay, and also didn’t have enough depth to their batting.
Losing him in the retention and release process, however, doesn’t mean it is the end of the road for Sundar’s association with RCB, who can still buy him back at the auction. Sundar has taken 27 wickets in his still young IPL career while going for only 6.93 runs per over.
5. Shahrukh Khan
Among the brightest young talents on display at the IPL 2021 was Tamil Nadu power-hitter Shahrukh Khan, who played a few promising knocks for the Punjab Kings (PBKS). Released by PBKS at the end of the tournament, Shahrukh is now eyeing a new franchise and could fetch big money at the IPL 2022 Mega Auction.
Apart from his encouraging IPL 2021 exploits, Shahrukh shined bright for his state in the senior Indian domestic set-up late last year. He played an eye-catching knock in the final of the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 2021-22 in Delhi, scoring a match-winning 33* off 15 balls, including a famous last-ball six, against Karnataka.
Continuing his rich vein of form during the Vijay Hazare Trophy that followed, Shahrukh made 253 runs from his 7 innings with an average of 42.19 while maintaining a jaw-dropping strike-rate of 186.02.