How ironical for RCB to get it all wrong, despite having one of the most successful captains in Virat Kohli and an accomplished back end think tank.

What could have been the reason – arrogance of having Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers to do the job every time? Even this they didn’t do correctly as Chris Gayle was time and again dropped and therefore it did not do his rhythm any good. He is a match winner with 10000 plus T20 runs with an average of over 41 at a staggering strike rate of 175%!!!

However, I believe that an even greater blip was not reading the early signs of IPL 2017. It became apparent that it was the fast bowlers who were going to rule the roost. The super-fast bowling at the start of the innings was found to be more effective during this IPL than any other.

RCB has, in their fold, some of the fastest bowlers in the business –  Tymal Mills and Billy Stanlake, the 6ft 8” super express bowler. These two should have been the regular feature in their side with Adam Milne as their back-up. Yet they hardly got games to play. Instead spinner Samuel Badree was preferred. They got far too carried away with his one hattrick spell! RCB had enough Indian spinners including Yuzvendra Chahal to do the spinners’ job.

RCB’s fixed structure should have been – Chris Gayle, AB de Villers, Tymal Mills and Billy Stanlake (Adam Milne as a Back-up). On hind sight, RCB’s batting strategy should have been – open license to Gayle to go all out in expressing himself; Kohli should have dropped as a sheet anchor due to his form being shoddy. A slower, run-a-ball approach would have better enabled him to re-gain his focus and confidence. More importantly, Kohli at the crease would have given a significantly greater boost and confidence to others in the team to go for runs. What do we say about ADB? Even geniuses can once fail the entire series. This probably is “that one series”. So, bowlers beware the next time!

Delhi Daredevils too faltered in their team selection! Their regular should have been Carlos Brathwaite, Corey Anderson, Chris Morris and Kagiso Rabada (Pat Cummins as a back-up). Rabada should have played during the early part instead of Pat Cummins. He is probably one of the premium fast bowlers in world cricket today!  Brathwaite is like a Pollard. Why was he not there? Was it injury?

what could be suggested as an IPL winning formula….

  • Two overseas batsmen-one hopefully a swashbuckling opener and another a hard-hitting middle order batsman (ideally one who could bowl a little bit – a la Pollard!).
  • Two good overseas bowlers – if one of them is a lower order hard hitter, it’s an added advantage – like a Chris Morris or even a Pat Cummins type.

Mumbai Indians have covered many of these aspects well. Also, having 2 Indian allrounders in Krunal and Hardik Pandya made quite a difference between winning and losing.

The biggest gainer is India. Not just in terms of financial returns but in unearthing talent as well. Who would have thought that a Rahul Tripathi would be so damn good or a Nitish Rana so consistently good and a Basil Thampi, so effective with his Yorkers and speed! We all knew about Rishab Pant but seeing was believing. And of course, there were many others who made their marks felt like an Ishan Kishan, Shreyas Iyer. Not to forget old guards like Suresh Raina, showcasing that he needs another chance at both the “one-dayers” and T20 at the highest international level. Then there are the evergreen Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa & the likes of Dinesh Karthik….

So how would an Indian T20 probable look like: Rahul Tripathi, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya (or Krunal Pandya depending on pitch condition), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Mohamed Shami, Basil Thampi, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Rishab Pant, Robin Uthappa & Shreyas Iyer (or a Nitish Rana). Shortlisting 15 out of this 20 is going to be a headache for the Selectors but a good one to have! This IPL has thrown 4 names who are “right up there” – Rahul Tripathi, Rishab Pant, Nitish Rana, & Basil Thampi.

A word about Sarfaraz Khan. He appeared as the most talented young batsman to have emerged after Sachin Tendulkar! With the range of shots and the sense of timing, he had looked like the real 360-degree batsman after AB de Villiers. Hope he recovers from injury to be seen in the next IPL.