RCB to sack Mike Hesson, Sanjay Bangar ahead of new IPL season

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) are reportedly seeking new backroom staff for the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) season.

After deciding not to retain Director of Cricket Mike Hesson and coach Sanjay Bangar, the franchise, which has yet to win an IPL title, is on the lookout for fresh coaches. It remains uncertain whether the current bowling coach, Adam Griffith, will be retained.

Hesson and Bangar, who have held their positions for five years, are known to share a strong bond with RCB icon Virat Kohli. While their contracts are up for renewal in September, the team is currently in the process of reviewing their performance before making a final decision on whether Hesson and Bangar will stay.

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Hesson joined them in August 2019 following a complete overhaul of the coaching staff after the team's last-place finish that year. Bangar, on the other hand, began his tenure ahead of the 2022 season, taking over from Simon Katich, who had departed from the franchise.

RCB Mike Hesson
Photo by Icon Sport

During Hesson's tenure, RCB finished fourth in the league in 2020 and lost in the Eliminator to Sunrisers Hyderabad. In 2021, they secured the third spot but again lost in the Eliminator, this time to Kolkata Knight Riders. In IPL 2022, they finished fourth, won the Eliminator, but lost in Qualifier 2 to Rajasthan Royals. Unfortunately for them, RCB failed to qualify for the playoffs in IPL 2023.

Despite making it to three IPL finals in 2009, 2011, and 2016, they have yet to clinch the coveted IPL title.

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If RCB decide to part ways with Hesson, it may also lead to changes in the support staff of the women's team. Hesson served as the director of cricket for the team during the inaugural Women's Premier League, where they finished fourth among five teams, with two wins and six losses.

It remains uncertain whether RCB will opt for a foreign head coach or hire an Indian to take charge of the team. The franchise is currently evaluating its options and will make a decision in due course.

What went wrong for RCB and Mike Hesson in IPL 2023?

“We had to challenge ourselves in review of our earlier squad,” Hesson had said ahead of the IPL 2023 auction.

“There were probably a lot more around in the retention phase. We were comfortable with the number of players we decided to retain.

“We are having the purse that we wanted. We are very comfortable with the bulk of our squad. It is just a matter of tweaking really. Tweaking areas that not only give us cover but also gives the reliability that makes us a lot more flexible. That will be the focus of this auction.”

But the plans flew out of the window at the actual auction as RCB failed to build the necessary squad strength and depth. Rajat Patidar's injury further dented their strategy as they were left with a gaping hole in the middle order.

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That said, RCB only narrowly missed out on qualifying for the playoffs. Despite having control over their own destiny, a six-wicket loss to Gujarat Titans in their final league game dashed their hopes. RCB finished with 14 points, while the final playoffs spot went to Mumbai Indians.

Unfortunately for them, RCB also faced a string of injuries to players like Patidar, Will Jacks, Reece Topley, and Josh Hazlewood, which made their task even more challenging. However, they fought well and had their fair share of memorable moments in the IPL 2023.

A major positive for the team was the return of Kohli to his peak form. His performance was outstanding and provided a boost to the squad.

On the other hand, Dinesh Karthik's struggles would have definitely been a setback for the team. RCB experienced some heartbreaking losses, including the one against Lucknow Super Giants, where they lost on the last ball, and that defeat came back to haunt the RCB players.

Overall, it was a season of mixed emotions for RCB, with both highs and lows. They showed resilience in the face of adversity but fell short of their goal.

The lack of titles aside, a finish outside the top four could be what costs Hesson and Bangar their jobs after years of building trust with the franchise.


Rohit is an experienced cricket writer based in India