The Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), despite going in with a galaxy of superstars every year, have curiously never won the Indian Premier League. They have made the people to sit up and take notice, have churned out performances to rave about and have even made as many as three IPL finals – but the coveted trophy still eludes them. Come IPL 2018 and RCB Team 2018 look all set to end their title drought this year as they have assembled a squad which is as good as any in the league.
Four batting superstars in Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Brendon McCullum and Quinton de Kock, and plenty of fine bowling options like Yuzvendra Chahal, Umesh Yadav, Chris Woakes and Washington Sundar – RCB 2018 have all bases covered and are one of the early season favourites to win IPL 2018.
While the attention will undoubtedly be on bigwigs and established names like Kohli, De Villiers, McCullum and Chahal, there are plenty of other domestic and international stars in RCB Team 2018 who can own the league this year.
Here, we list down 5 such relatively lesser-known IPL players who can create an impact for RCB in IPL 2018.
1. Washington Sundar
18-year-old bowling sensation Washington Sundar was bought by the RCB Team 2018 for INR 3.2 crore at the mega players auction in January. In the early days of his career so far, Sundar has been very impressive with his off-spin bowling, often in the powerplay overs. He was named the player of the tournament in the recently concluded Nidahas trophy in Sri Lanka, where India emerged as winners. In the IPL, Sundar played for the Rising Pune Supergiant last year, having been brought into the team as a replacement for the injured Ravichandran Ashwin. He impressed many with his economical and attacking bowling with the new ball. The Tamil Nadu lad has played 11 IPL games and has picked up 8 wickets at an average of 23.12 and a miserly economy of 6.16. Washington Sundar IPL 2018 is a talent that is sure to create a huge impact in the upcoming season of the tournament.
2. Chris Woakes
An underrated match-winner, Chris Woakes has the timing and the fluency of a top-order batsman and the speed and accuracy of a frontline bowler. From hitting an unbeaten 95 to rescue England from 82 for 6 in a 288-run chase in an ODI against Sri Lanka, to becoming the first English bowler since Ian Botham in 1978 to take a five-wicket haul in each Test innings at Lord’s, Woakes is everything his team wants him to be and it’s commendable how he quietly goes about his job. When he featured for KKR in his debut IPL season last year, Woakes bagged 17 wickets in 13 matches and was handy with the bat as well. Chris Woakes IPL 2018 will not just add to RCB Team 2018 batting depth, but also address the side’s death-bowling concerns.
3. Sarfaraz Khan
Sarfaraz Khan IPL 2018 was the biggest surprise retention of the 11th season of IPL. He was retained for INR 1.57 crore along with captain Virat Kohli and South African maestro AB de Villiers. The Uttar Pradesh-batsman was only 17 when he was bought for INR 50 lakhs by his current franchise in IPL 8. The teenager made the most of the limited opportunities he got by making the cricketing world sit and take notice of his incredible and brave batting skills but has since seen his career hit a roadblock with fitness and injury struggles. Ahead of IPL 2018, Sarfaraz has been batting well and looking fitter than ever. This might just be the RCB Team 2018 and youngster’s year.
4. Mohammed Siraj
Blessed with the ability to hit the deck hard and bowl with relentless accuracy, Mohammed Siraj has gone from being a completely unknown entity to an India player in a matter of 15 months. Son of an auto rickshaw driver in Hyderabad, his inspiring story is yet another example of a classic rag to riches tale. The 23-year-old fast bowler earned plenty of praise from legends like VVS Laxman and David Warner for his performances in IPL 2017 for Sunrisers Hyderabad. This year, Mohammed Siraj IPL 2018 will turn out for the Virat Kohli-led RCB Team 2018 and will certainly be one of the young players to watch out for.
5. Navdeep Saini
The 25-year-old Delhi lad grabbed all eyes with his fierce bowling in the Indian domestic circuit. He consistently breached the 140 kmph mark and was instrumental in Delhi reaching finals of the Ranji Trophy as he mustered 34 wickets in 8 domestic matches. Saini was also one of the three bowlers chosen to bowl in the nets during India’s recent tour of South Africa. As the Royal Challengers Bangalore have traditionally been weak in their bowling department, Navdeep Saini IPL 2018 will most likely get more chances and has the potential to become a key bowler for the RCB Team 2018 alongside Umesh Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal.