RCB’s strongest playing XI on paper

After a disappointing auction, the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) roster for the 2022 Indian Premier League (IPL) may lack local flavor, but the three-time finalists still have the people to compete for the crown.

Apart from re-signing known names like Faf du Plessis and Dinesh Karthik to go with their three retainers – Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell, and Mohammed Siraj – for excessive fees, RCB also signed proven players like Faf du Plessis and Dinesh Karthik. The rest of their team was made up of promising domestic talent.

Here is RCB’s strongest playing XI for the IPL 2022 season.

Openers: Faf du Plessis (c), Anuj Rawat

Faf du Plessis just lost out on the Orange Cap for the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL 2021, but he should remain in that capacity for RCB.

RCB must select between Du Plessis, Karthik, and Maxwell for captaincy, with the South African appearing to be the best choice. While Karthik’s captaincy struggle with the Kolkata Knight Riders was not very entertaining, Maxwell may not want his batting to be hampered by leadership.

The identity of Du Plessis’ companion is unknown. Kohli batted first in the last IPL season, but his strike rate was low, leaving the middle order with too much work to do.

Middle Order: Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell, Mahipal Lomror, Dinesh Karthik (wk)

Following Kohli will be Glenn Maxwell, whose spin bowling will be crucial for an RCB top order that may struggle to get going. As the only bowler in the starting XI who can flip his stock ball away from the left-hander, the Australian had a fantastic season in 2021 and will need to contribute with his off-spin.

Mahipal Lomror, another spin-hitting alternative in the middle order, had a number of memorable cameos for the Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2021. The young left-hander has the ability to bowl and is a confident hitter who can routinely clear the boundary. Dinesh Karthik, who returns to the franchise, will finish off the middle order.

All-rounders: Wanindu Hasaranga, Harshal Patel, Shahbaz Ahmed

The keeper’s batting form has been much too erratic in recent IPL seasons, and a return to a familiar environment should help him rediscover his genuine finishing ability.

Hasaranga and Harshal, RCB’s most costly signings of the auction, fill up the lower-middle order. While the Sri Lankan will be the primary spinner, Harshal will focus on his death-overs expertise.

If Shahbaz Ahmed is included in the starting XI, RCB will have just three frontline fast bowlers, but the club doesn’t have many choices on the bench unless they want to select someone like Akash Deep.

Ahmed has performed admirably for the club in the past, and the ability of Maxwell and Hasaranga to bowl difficult overs may push RCB to go with the left-arm spinner, who can also contribute a few runs.

Bowlers: Mohammed Siraj, Josh Hazlewood

Mohammed Siraj and Josh Hazlewood, RCB’s frontline pacers, are in fine form at the moment. Siraj is steadily establishing himself as one of India’s top pacers across all forms, while Hazlewood is coming off an IPL title with the Chennai Super Kings and has performed admirably for Australia at the international level.

RCB’s strongest playing XI: Faf du Plessis (c), Anuj Rawat, Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell, Mahipal Lomror, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Wanindu Hasaranga, Harshal Patel, Shahbaz Ahmed, Mohammed Siraj, Josh Hazlewood