The next team to look at is the Royal Challengers. By the end of the season last year the team fired its CEO for their poor performance sacked Rahul Dravid as its captain. They now have placed Kevin Pietersen in charge.
I like KP as a player and as a captain but he is going to be only there for the first eight games. Then the next captain will be thrown in midstream and the team has to adapt.
Look for them to lose a couple of games in this transition period.
Last Year Result – seventh
Batsmen (Internationals Starred)
· Kevin Pietersen*
· Srivastava Goswami
· Dillon du Preez*
· Jesse Ryder*
· Roelof van der Merwe*
· Tinu Yohannan
Coaches: Ray Jennings
Some scheduling issues to be aware of when choosing the playing XI. The IPL starts April 18th and May 24th. Also the Australian- Pakistan series ends only on may 7th. The English and the West Indies will play starting May 6th and won’t be back.
So the team has to choose seven Indian in the playing XI. The automatic choices are Rahul Dravid, Robin Uthappa, Virat Kohli, Praveen Kumar, Anil Kumble. We have to add two Indians to that number.
I would add two from these four: Pandey, Akhil, and Goswami and Jaffer. Now comes the interesting part. Until Pietersen leaves for England the four internationals to XI should be Steyn, Pieterson, Ryder, Boucher.
So the Batting line up would be this:
Once Pietersen leaves I would add Ross Taylor. His ability to hit sixes is amazing and can take apart any bowling attack. The problem is he has no staying ability and the middle order will be weak.
At some point you can add Bracken to this XI in place of Boucher because the bowling is weak.
I am not impressed by this team at all. Though they have five South Africans I don’t feel confident about their batting or bowling. They have 4 strong batsman and I am excited about the opening of Dravid and Ryder.
Last year, Dravid was heavily penalized for things he had no control over. The beating they took from McCullum in the first game stayed with them through the whole season.
Pietersen we all know will be motivated and loves the big stage and he fits in with the ideal of the IPL. Boucher has saved SA many times and might have to here too.
Now we come to the bowling. It is a complete mess. Last year Steyn though he was getting paid to party and played like he was hung over.
This year he will be more motivated and BRC will hope that he can deliver. Before Bracken arrives he will share the ball with Kumar.
Kumar is a bowler that is often ripped apart because he doesn’t have the pace or variety to put doubts in the batsmen. Kumble can bring the variety but has been retired for six months and we don’t know if that will refresh him or will he be unable to play at this level.
Ryder can bowl a few overs but he too is like Kumar.
The final four overs are going to be the batsman’s favorite. Some combination of Akhil, Goswami and Kohli will have to bowl. These players are unproven have not played under the bright lights expectations and pressure faced here.
When you add Bracken to the mix it strengthens the bowling. This is the time I expect the Challengers to make a solid run.
Expect the challengers to start a little hot then become mediocre lose a few after the change in captain and win some with the addition of Bracken.