The men in red and black have always had a star-studded team and under the captaincy of glorious leaders such as Rahul Dravid, Kevin Pietersen, Anil Kumble, Daniel Vettori and Virat Kohli, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) have failed to claim a single title in the entire past decade of Indian Premier League (IPL). Up ahead in the IPL 2018, starting April 7, RCB will aim for a turnaround in the fortunes with a same core that has Kohli and South Africa's AB de Villiers in the front and New Zealander Vettori as coach.
Besides Vettori, Trent Woodhill has joined RCB as Batting Talent Development and Fielding coach and recently retired Indian pacer Ashish Nehra was roped in as the new mentor and bowling coach.
Kohli, the IPL player-of-the-series in 2016, has been one of the most consistent performers for the Bengaluru-based franchise. He accumulated 973 runs in 16 matches of the 2016 edition, leading them to the final of the cash-rich league, though they lost the title to Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Having played 149 IPL matches so far in IPL, Kohli has scored 4,418 runs with four centuries and 30 half-centuries. His league-best knock of 113 runs came in a match against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in 2016.
Apart from Kohli, RCB have star T20 batsman AB de Villiers, who was retained by the franchise well before the IPL Auction. De Villiers has played 129 IPL matches and made 3473 runs with three hundreds and a highest knock of 133 runs.
The RCB batting unit for the 11th season will be strengthened further with the presence of former New Zealand batsman Brendon McCullum, South Africa wicketkeeper batsmen Quinton De Kock and Indian wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel. Other batsmen picked by RCB in the 2018 IPL Auction were Manan Vohra, Pavan Deshpande and Anirudha Joshi.
Prodigious uncapped batsman Sarfaraz Khan was lucky enough to find himself in the RCB's players retention list besides Kohli and De Villiers. The 20-year-old batsman has scored just 177 runs in 18 matches and eagerly awaits a big knock to mark his impression in the illustrious Indian league.
The spin department of RCB will be led by Yuzvendra Chahal and includes Washington Sundar, M Ashwin and Pawan Negi besides the Indian leg-spinner. New Zealand's Colin De Grandhomme, Moeen Ali of England and Mandeep Singh will add to RCB's all-round strength.
Even though the team looks strong on paper so far, the fast bowlers' unit make it undefeatable. Under the watchful eyes of freshly retired Indian pacer Ashish Nehra, RCB will see their bowling strength in England's Chris Woakes, Australia's Nathan Coulter-Nile and recently debuted Indian speedster Mohammed Siraj.
Among the uncapped pacers, Navdeep Saini, Kulwant Khejroliya and Aniket Choudhary are the players that promise a stellar outing in the IPL 2018.
ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE 2018 SQUAD
Virat Kohli (C), AB de Villiers, Sarfaraz Khan, Chris Woakes, Yuzvendra Chahal, Umesh Yadav, Brendon McCullum, Washington Sundar, Navdeep Saini, Quinton De Kock, Mohammed Siraj, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Colin De Grandhomme, M. Ashwin, Parthiv Patel, Moeen Ali, Mandeep Singh, Manan Vohra, Pawan Negi, Tim Southee, Kulwant Khejroliya, Aniket Choudhary, Pavan Deshpande, Anirudha Joshi