The 2021 IPL auction is fast-approaching and the franchises have trimmed their squad accordingly to try and strengthen in the right areas ahead of the upcoming season. Royal Challengers Bangalore, who have never lifted the IPL trophy before, have made some bold decisions by releasing some big names from the side that reached the playoffs in UAE last season. With the second-highest budget (INR 35.90 Crore) among all franchises, RCB could be in for a busy auction on February 18. Here are five overseas players the Virat Kohli-led franchise can target to plug the holes in their squad.
1. Alex Hales (England)
The swashbuckling English opener is a household name in franchise cricket all over the globe. However, Alex Hales has yet to make a significant mark in the Indian Premier League. The Englishman is coming off the back of a sensational BBL campaign and could be the ideal option for RCB. Hales’ presence at the top of the order guarantees explosive starts to the side and he could set up the best platform for the likes of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers to flourish. Without the shadow of a doubt, he will be a prized asset for any side. None more so than RCB.
2. Dawid Malan (England)
Well, who wouldn’t want to chase Dawid Malan in the auction? The world’s No.1 T20 batsman is undoubtedly one of the most high-profile names going under the hammer ahead of IPL 2021 Auction. Owing to his glowing reputation, Malan is expected to be involved in a bidding war and RCB could also test the waters. After releasing Aaron Finch, Josh Philippe is the only pure overseas batsman apart from AB de Villiers. The possibility of snapping up Malan as no.3 offers a solid dynamic to the RCB batting order, where Virat Kohli could open the innings and De Villiers could bat in his natural no.4 position.
3. Glenn Maxwell (Australia)
It is highly unlikely that Dawid Malan will be auctioned off on the cheaper side of the bill and former KXIP all-rounder Glenn Maxwell offers an interesting alternative for RCB. The massive price-tag involved in getting him to KXIP acted as a huge weight on his shoulders in IPL 2020. Following the uninspiring display in UAE, Maxwell has been released. However, the all-rounder still has all the attributes that make him a match-winner in this format. Maxwell needs a breath of fresh air and RCB could offer him just that in IPL 2021. The Australian impressed for Melbourne Stars in BBL 10 as well and his leadership qualities can also be a huge asset to Virat Kohli and company. Oh, he can bowl a bit too and is electric in the field.
4. Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh)
The former Bangladesh captain offers another exciting option for RCB in the IPL 2021 auction. Shakib can be a very reliable bowler that brings variety to the attack and also wields the willow to strengthen the middle order. There is no denying his talent after having been ranked as the best all-rounder across all formats in the past. Following his hiatus from international cricket, Shakib is waiting for an opportunity to perform at a big stage. Not many bigger than the IPL of course, he might just turn out to be an invaluable addition should RCB decide to trust him.
5. Chris Morris (South Africa)
Yes, you heard it right. RCB releasing Chris Morris ahead of the auction was baffling. In hindsight though, it feels like a ploy to get him back at a cheaper price. The South African was an excellent addition to the squad and made a strong impact despite an early setback due to injury in IPL 2020. It is certain that there could be other franchises that want him, but RCB will know he is tailor-made for their side. Whether or not they manage to re-acquire his services for less than INR 10 crore remains to be seen. However, it will not be far-fetched to think RCB have an intention to get him back in their ranks.