Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) is touted to be one of the strongest teams in the Indian Premier League ever since its inception. However, its failure to win an IPL even once has often drawn criticism from fans and experts. Led by Virat Kohli, RCB was looking good in a bid to win their maiden IPL title in 2021 before the season got suspended due to a rising threat due to COVID-19.
With the uncertainty around the remaining IPL 2021 matches, there's another IPL season to look forward to in 2022. Most likely, it will be preceded by a mega auction where teams (including RCB) will be asked to release their list of retained players. While RCB witnessed a remarkable run in the first four matches, Yuzvendra Chahal – a key recruit in the RCB ranks, struggled throughout the season.
The Haryana-born spinner has bailed his team out from crunch situations on various occasions in the past Unfortunately, Chahal has seen a dip in his performances in the last few months – both for India and in the IPL. In the seven matches that he played for RCB in 2021, the leg-spinner could only pick four wickets, conceding 190 runs in return. His was expensive and an economy of 8.26 is a reflection of very little that he could add to RCB's campaign this year.
Chahal's worrisome performance could potentially mean that he isn't retained by RCB in IPL 2022 mega auction. Here's a look at 3 players who can be retained by RCB ahead of Yuzvendra Chahal in the IPL 2022 mega auction:
1. Devdutt Paddikal
Devdutt Paddikal was the biggest revelation for RCB in IPL 2020. The uncapped Indian player also won the emerging player's award in IPL 2020 on the back of his consistent run for the entire course of the season. Paddikal continued his menacing form even in IPL 2021. Despite going through some tough times in the lead-up to the IPL due to COVID-19, the southpaw scored a century, giving evidence of his mental strength and confidence.
He scored 195 runs in six matches and was a constant run-scorer was RCB at the top of the order. In most games, he gave his team some blistering starts, taking off the burden from the middle-order. In all likelihood, RCB is expected to retain the top-order batsman ahead of Chahal in IPL 2022
2. Washington Sundar
The Tamil-Nadu-based all-rounder has been donning RCB's reds since IPL 2018. Washington Sundar adds an ounce of strength to the struggling middle-order. His ability to perform under pressure makes him a strong contender to be in the playing XI. Also, his skills as a powerplay bowler have earned him a lot of praises from the skipper and team management.
In the six outings of the IPL 2021, Sundar looked impressive with the white ball as he claimed three wickets and put a stop to the run flow considerably. After making an impactful contribution for India in the Test matches, Sundar is high on confidence and his performances in each subsequent format are a mere reflection of the same. Hence, the RCB management might consider retaining Sundar ahead of Chahal in IPL 2022.
3. Mohammad Siraj
The Hyderabad-based speedster has been the most improved Indian player in the last few months. Leading India's attack in Australia has helped Siraj take his game a notch higher. He has more belief in his skills and moreover can be seen executing them with greater certainty and confidence.
Even in IPL 2021, Siraj grabbed six crucial wickets at an economy of 7.34 in the seven matches. Skipper Virat Kohli has shown immense belief in his strike bowler and is often called to bowl the tough overs in the death for his team. With a major change of fortunes in the last pat three years playing for RCB, the franchise is likely to retain him even in IPL 2022. Siraj might even get the nod ahead of their seasoned campaigner in Chahal.