RCB sign 3 state players
In their bid to enhance home flavour, Royal Challengers Bangalore have signed up three more domestic Karnataka players for the upcoming Indian Premier League season.
According to team sources, off-spinner Ryan Ninan, all-rounder Abrar Kazi and medium pacer BN Bharath have been roped in, boosting the number of domestic uncapped players from the state to seven.
It’s also learnt that the team management is yet to finalize on captaincy, which in all probability is a toss-up between Kiwi Daniel Vettori and Virat Kohli. The New Zealander is the only regular international captain in the RCB ranks while Kohli, the lone player retained by the franchisee, had been labelled by coach Ray Jennings as a potential captaincy material. The final list of players has been handed over to IPL without mentioning the leader of the pack.
Pacer Abhimanyu Mithun is the only international player from Karnataka in the RCB squad.
The latest batch of signings also includes Tamil Nadu’s top-order batsman KB Arun Karthick and Railways batsman Asad Pathan.
In a notable deviation from the past, the Bangalore-based side has dwelt on youngsters with aggressive instincts in the selection of domestic cricketers rather than plumping for experienced faces from the state.
The specialized T20 jargon of utility too comes into the picture with the ability of Ninan and Bharath to swing the bat freely down the order.
Wicketkeeper batsman CM Gautam and left-arm bowler S Arvind, valuable members of the Ranji squad, have been signed again for the fourth season but are yet to make their debut. Hard-hitting Mayank Agarwal and all-rounder Raju Bhatkal complete the list of domestic Karnataka players in the line-up.
However, in hindsight, it seems that Karnataka Premier League, supposed to be a feeder for T20 competitions, has not made much impact except in the case of KPL man of the tournament Agarwal. It remains to be seen how many of these domestic cricketers in RCB end up as key members in the side. According to a team source, the balance of the side is paramount but the Karnataka boys stand a greater chance of finding a place in the eleven this time around.
With a lengthy group phase awaiting the side in the 10-team league, experimenting with these youngsters somewhere in the early stages looks a distinct possibility than throwing them in during pressure-cooker situations at the business end of the qualifying phase.
The camp for the domestic Indian players will commence once the local support staff is finalized while the international players not featuring in the World Cup will join on April 1 along with coach Jennings for a one-week pre-tournament camp. RCB have only five World Cup players - Vettori, AB de Villiers, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Zaheer Khan and Kohli—in their ranks.