In this series of articles, we are assessing the team combinations of all IPL teams before the auction on December 19. The aim is to identify the key areas that the teams need to address in this year’s auction. To segment the analysis, we have divided a team into four sections – Top-order (1-3), Middle-order (4-7), spinners and pacers.
We will analyse each of these segments by further segmenting them with the respective median value of their categories since IPL 2015. To eliminate bias from extreme values, a median (the middle value that separates the higher half from the lower half of the data set) not a mean (average) is considered for analysis. All numbers are taken since 2015 to ensure that the analysis is performed based on a long-term trend. Minimum qualification criteria for medians is 5 matches for batsmen and 10 overs for bowlers.
Top-order and Middle-order batsmen: The players in the top right-hand box are considered to be consistent and quick scorers (Batting Average above 29.93 for top and 22.33 for middle-order and Batting Strike Rate above 132.1 for top and 132 for middle-order).
The top left-hand box represents players who are quick scorers but not consistent (Batting Average below 29.93 for top and 22.33 for middle-order and Batting Strike Rate above 132.1 for top and 132 for middle-order).
The bottom right-hand section players are observed as consistent but not quick scorers (Batting Average above 29.93 for top and 22.33 for middle-order and Batting Strike Rate below 132.1 for top and 132 for middle-order).
And finally, the bottom left-hand section is regarded as players who are neither quick scorer nor consistent (Batting Average below 29.33 for top and 22.33 for middle-order and Batting Strike Rate below 132.1 for top and 132 for middle-order).
Pacers and Spinners: The players in the top right-hand box are considered to be economical and wicket-takers (Economy Rate below 8.8 for pacers and below 8 for spinners; Bowling Strike Rate below 21.05 for pacers and below 24.55 for spinners.)
The top left-hand box represents players who are wicket-takers but not economical (Economy Rate above 8.8 for pacers and above 8 for spinners; Bowling Strike Rate below 21.05 for pacers and below 24.55 for spinners.)
The bottom right-hand section players are observed as economical but not wicket-takers (Economy Rate below 8.8 for pacers and below 8 for spinners; Bowling Strike Rate above 21.05 for pacers and above 24.55 for spinners.)
And finally, the bottom left-hand section contains players who are neither economical nor wicket-takers (Economy Rate above 8.8 for pacers and above 8 for spinners; Bowling Strike Rate above 21.05 for pacers and above 24.55 for spinners.)
Note that the aim of this analysis is to analyze the strongest squad possible each team can assemble after the auction; hence, suggestions like replacement for retained players are not provided.
ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE
IPL 2019 Position - 8th
Despite having two of once in a generation batsmen, RCB has been one of the least successful teams of the IPL. They have lost numerous matches failing to defend big totals. In this auction, RCB will primarily hunt for finishers and bowlers that are economical in death overs.
RCB Top-order (1-3)
RCB has two of the best T20 batsmen in their top order. The combination of AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli can be among the three most expensive players if put through an auction. Their average and strike-rate are way above the IPL median for top-order batsmen since 2015.
Parthiv Patel is a decent striker in the powerplay. The biggest boost for RCB this year is the rise of Devdutt Padikkal, a local Karnataka player in their squad. Yet to make his IPL debut, Padikkal was the top scorer in the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (SMAT). He scored 580 runs at an average of 64.4 at a strike-rate of 175.8. He will be another welcome addition in the RCB top-order.
RCB Middle Order (4-7)
In the batting department, middle-order is a concern for RCB. Moeen Ali is the only batsman with numbers better than the median for middle-order IPL batsmen since 2015. Along with Moeen, the improvement exhibited by Shivam Dube will also strengthen the middle-order.
The exploits of Gurkeerat Mann and Pawan Negi are not even near par to the standards of the IPL. Washington Sundar too is more of a lower-order batsman.
RCB will look to buy at least a couple of good middle-order options. Ideally, an experienced finisher who can help RCB by assisting the top-order to get across the line. Keeping this mind, Glenn Maxwell and Eoin Morgan are likely to be on RCB’s radar.
RCB have decent spin options. Yuzvendra Chahal is an India limited-overs regular. Sundar has also featured in the Indian team in 2019. Sundar possesses the ability to bowl in the powerplay, saving some overs of the pacers for the death. Moeen is also handy to sneak in a few overs and even his full quota on turning tracks.
Spinners might not be in focus during the auction for RCB.
Pacers are a real concern for RCB. Playing seven league games at the small boundaries of the Chinnaswamy stadium, they lack pacers with quality at the death. Since 2015, Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Siraj have an economy rate of 11.8 and 10.5 respectively during the death overs.
While Umesh makes up with sporadic good spells mostly upfront, Siraj has been largely expensive. Kohli will now expect the capped pacer Navdeep Saini to better his numbers from the debut season in 2019.
Pacers like Dale Steyn, Sheldon Cottrell will be on RCB’s radar in this auction.
Best XI as per the current squad-
Devdutt Padikkal, Parthiv Patel (wk), Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers, Moeen Ali, Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal , Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Siraj
IPL 2019 Position - 7th
The winners of the inaugural season have struggled to put together a perfect squad in the IPL since. In Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer, they have the best quartet of foreign players in the IPL. The 2019 auction will be a search for Indian players for them. But, it is imperative for them to have all four foreign players fit and available.
RR Top-order (1-3)
Jos Buttler is one of the most impactful batsmen at the top of the order. Steve Smith, not brisk but dependable.
They have Sanju Samson in the top order who’s consistency has been constantly improving. His exploits have made him close to earning the India cap.
Manan Vohra’s current statistics make him unreliable. He did not play a single game in the 2019 season and played four games in 2018. However, he averaged 44.3 and scored 310 runs at a strike-rate of 134.8 in the SMAT 2019.
RR have alternatives at the top of the order. They can opt to open with Samson and have Smith at three. They will then need to think about their middle-order. However, they can plan to buy an opener and can alternate between Smith and Samson at three and four.
RR Middle-order (4-7)
Ben Stokes is a huge presence in the middle order. Riyan Parag has shown good promise in 2019. It is hard to articulate why they let go Krishnappa Gowtham, a spin-bowling all-rounder with the ability to hit big shots.
Their middle-order strategy will depend on whom they decide to open with. If Samson and Smith bat at three and four then they will need another finisher along with Parag at six or seven, given Stokes bats at five.
Depending on his form, they can back Rahul Tewatia to play for them as an all-rounder at seven.
Either opener or middle-order, they will have to target Indian batsmen. For openers, their options are to buy back Rahul Tripathi who they released ahead of this auction. They can also look to bid on Yashasvi Jaiswal, however, he does not have any T20 experience. For middle-order, their options are Virat Singh, Vishnu Vinod and Rohan Kadam.
One less thing for RR to worry about in the auction is spin department. After romping in Mayank Markande, they have a lot of spin bowling options. Given that Shreyas Gopal and Rahul Tewatia can bat as well gives depth to their batting line-up. However, Parag needs to improve his numbers if he has to qualify as an all-rounder.
Just like spinners, RR are largely sorted in the pacer department. The pre-season transfer of Ankit Rajpoot from Kings XI (swapper with Gowtham), has given them one Indian pace option. To be on the safer side, they should look to buy one more Indian pacer. In that regard, they can target Ishan Porel in the upcoming auction.
Best XI as per the current squad-
Jos Buttler (wk), Manan Vohra, Steve Smith ©, Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Riyan Parag, Rahul Tewatia, Shreyas Gopal, Jofra Archer, Mayank Markande, Ankit Rajpoot