Royal Challengers Bangalore v Rising Pune Supergiant, IPL 2017, Bengaluru April 17, 2017

Overseas selections hamper RCB balance

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Need to find the right balance in the XI - Vettori

While it's not quite all doom and gloom yet, Royal Challengers Bangalore are not far from the point of no-return on the league table. One win in five games leaves them with the prospect of having to win at least seven of the remaining nine games - five of which are away - to have a chance of securing a play-off berth. And the lack of balance when it comes to the selection of overseas players is giving coach Daniel Vettori sleepless nights.

After watching a match "snatched from under their nose" by Mumbai Indians - who recovered from 7 for 4 to chase down 143 - the team management strengthened their bowling by leaving out Chris Gayle for Shane Watson against Rising Pune Supergiant on Sunday. In addition, Adam Milne was brought in for his first game of the season at the expense of Tymal Mills. As a result, the batting order was shuffled around for the third time in as many matches, and the slow surface exposed Royal Challengers' struggles. They lost to Rising Pune by 27 runs.

"The thing is, in the IPL we're constantly searching for the right balance," Vettori said. "In the Mumbai game, we were down a bowler. Shane has been such a successful allrounder in T20 cricket for a long period of time. So we made the decision to back Shane because of his all-round contribution.

"It's tough for everyone in T20 cricket. A lot of domestic players have had to step in and perform after missing a few games or not being in their best form. We know Chris Gayle is a very good performer and we know if he can get on a roll than we can utilise Chris in a positive manner. At this stage we are just trying to find the right balance."

Vettori attributed the frequent changes in selection to being caught a little off guard by the kind of surfaces they've encountered at home, but insisted that wasn't an excuse to cover their shortcomings. "It's probably a case of dealing with a kind of wicket that we haven't played on before," he said. "It's obviously slightly slower. We are used to wickets that make it a lot easier for batsmen to hit the ball for six, hit the ball for four, to catch up with a few dot balls."

Chasing 162 against Rising Pune, Royal Challengers did not hit a single four and struck only one six between the fourth and 15th overs. The inability to adjust, Vettori felt, added to the pressure. "We are probably creating pressure on ourselves through dot balls, striking at below 100," he said. "Trying to catch that up in the back end on a slow wicket is incredibly difficult. I think in a lot of ways we need to be more proactive.

"I think the wickets are not batting-friendly, but that doesn't mean it's not a good T20 wicket. It's been exciting for the bowlers. All three games have been pretty entertaining and I think we have showed that we can compete on this wicket. It is different, we just need to adapt like we did in the Delhi game."

Without mincing words, Vettori was also clear about the problems with their batting. "We saw what the likes of KL (Rahul), Sachin Baby, all those roles players from last year performed," he said. "The expectation is on AB and Virat to excel, but we need the likes of Mandeep (Singh), Kedhar (Jadhav), Shane (Watson) and Stuart Binny to complement their performances. We haven't made it easy on Mandeep by chopping and changing the line-up. We are trying to find the right combination. Once we find the right combination we can get on a roll.

"I won't say drastic changes are required. We back the quality of our performance on our day and we know that we haven't had enough of those when we need consistent performances across the board. We have had little pockets of it. Aravind was exceptional today, Milne in his first game for RCB in a long time did a great job. We need more of those performances, we can't rely on one or two people and that's why we did so well last year. We need more performances from more people."

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • august3707135 on April 20, 2017, 13:16 GMT

    @ALLROUNDCRICKET, you are right about Aniket but he should not bowl too many short balls. I guess he was really nervous during his first match against Sunrisers. Arvind dropped Yuvraj off Aniket's bowling and that proved costly. I guess they can even try Avesh Khan.

  • august3707135 on April 20, 2017, 13:09 GMT

    Four overseas should be: Gayle, ABD, Mills, and Badree.

  • Abdul on April 18, 2017, 9:29 GMT

    Best Playing team for RCB

    Mandeep Singh Virat Kohli Kedar Jadhav ABD Travis Head S Binny P Negi/Srinath Arvind/Iqbal Abdula Samuel Badree T Mills/Adam Milline Y chahal A Chaudhary

  • Brishni on April 18, 2017, 0:20 GMT

    RCB need to play Ankit Chowdhary. His pace and bounce is unsettling. He can slot in lieu of Aravind whose lack of pace is worrying. Look at how Thampi improved after his first game because he was backed.

    It's not the overseas slots only rather under or mis utilisation of domestic talent that leads RCB to languish.

  • Jon on April 17, 2017, 21:33 GMT

    Is a side more or less likely to win a T20 game by including Gayle? To me the answer seems obvious.

  • Pramod on April 17, 2017, 18:32 GMT

    They need to have a balance in the team and avoid over dependence on Gayle,Virat and DeVillers.The ideal eleven from the present members would be opening with Gayle and Sarfaraz folloed by Kholi,Devillers,Jadhav,Mandeep,Negi,Chahal,Badree,Ankit and Milne where they have atleast 6 good batsman and 6 bowlers which migth help in giving more strength to the squad.And last by not the least time to Change the name to Royal Champions Bengaluru for soem additional luck!!All the best RCB !!

  • kuldeep on April 17, 2017, 16:32 GMT

    Gayle played two matches did rcb win due to him? no need of him. get Vishnu Vinod. New star

  • Jerry Mathew Thomas on April 17, 2017, 15:33 GMT

    The side need a left hander especially when most of the teams field 2 legspinners/ left hand spinners. So s. Baby is important for the balance of the team. But he should bat up the order , above all those big hitters like kedar.moreover, his fielding saves atleast 10-15 runs per match.

  • milton on April 17, 2017, 15:33 GMT

    All over for RCB this IPL. blame selectors for not selecting indian bowlers especially Ishan't sharma and irfan pathan knowingly their bowling is weak. Now they have to shuffle with foreign bowlers to the expense of foreign batsmen. As now foreign bowlers also fail to deliver, both batting and bowling look weak. Not surprised to see them at the bottom of the table.

  • Jerry Mathew Thomas on April 17, 2017, 15:31 GMT

    Vk, vishnu vinod,abd,baby,kedar,watson,binny, badree, chahal,arvind,tymal

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