As the buildup towards IPL 2024 intensifies, the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) have found themselves under scrutiny for their auction purchases with legendary batter Sunil Gavaskar expressing reservations regarding the team's bowling unit.
In a recent discussion on Star Sports, Gavaskar didn't mince his words when assessing RCB's bowling strength. He pointed out that the Bengaluru-based franchise had seemingly weakened their bowling contingent with their personnel changes, particularly the release of key players and their subsequent acquisitions.
Did RCB make poor auction choices? Sunil Gavaskar thinks so
One notable departure from the RCB camp was the release of seasoned bowlers like Josh Hazlewood, Wanindu Hasaranga, and Harshal Patel. Hazlewood's non-availability for the full season was a factor in his exclusion, which Gavaskar deemed understandable. However, he raised eyebrows over the decisions to let go of Harshal Patel and Wanindu Hasaranga, citing their versatility and experience as valuable assets for the team.
Harshal Patel, who had an impressive outing in IPL 2023 with 14 wickets at an economy rate of 9.65, was deemed surplus to requirements. Similarly, Wanindu Hasaranga's ability to contribute with both bat and ball, showcased by his nine dismissals in eight matches in the previous season, made his departure a puzzling move according to Gavaskar.
While RCB did bring in reinforcements at the auction, including Alzarri Joseph, Lockie Ferguson, Yash Dayal, and Tom Curran to bolster their seam-bowling options, Gavaskar remained skeptical. He questioned whether these acquisitions, particularly Joseph, renowned for his record-breaking spell with Mumbai Indians in 2019, could replicate their success on the batting-friendly pitches of the Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Furthermore, Gavaskar highlighted the absence of viable spin options in RCB's arsenal following the departure of Hasaranga, compounding the team's bowling woes. The lack of death-over specialists, exemplified by the departure of Harshal Patel, further exacerbated the situation, leaving the franchise vulnerable in crucial phases of the game.
RCB HAVE RELEASED JOSH HAZLEWOOD…!!!! pic.twitter.com/OHq2iro4wE— Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) November 26, 2023
Despite the concerns raised by Gavaskar, RCB seemed resigned to their decisions, opting not to pursue the reacquisition of Harshal Patel, who was snapped up by Punjab Kings for a hefty sum at the auction. Similarly, Wanindu Hasaranga found a new home at SunRisers Hyderabad, leaving RCB without their services for the upcoming season.
As the IPL 2024 draws closer, RCB finds themselves at a crossroads, grappling with the challenge of fortifying their bowling unit amidst fierce competition. Gavaskar's observations serve as a stark reminder of the importance of a well-rounded squad in T20 cricket, especially in a league as demanding and unpredictable as the IPL.
In conclusion, while RCB's batting prowess may shine bright with the likes of Virat Kohli and Glenn Maxwell leading the charge, their bowling department remains a cause for concern as they gear up for the challenges of IPL 2024. Only time will tell if their new acquisitions can rise to the occasion and fill the void left by the departed stalwarts, or if their bowling woes will continue to haunt them in the quest for IPL glory.