One of Royal Challenger Bangalore’s most senior and experienced players has been AB De Villiers. He has been with the franchise for more than a decade and has played match-defining innings on numerous occasions. Kohli and AB have been the two pillars around which the team has been built and their entire batting order revolves around these two legends. Recently, there were reports about 2021 being AB’s last IPL.
The veracity of these reports could not be ascertained but if true, it could be a serious concern for RCB. We look at 5 players who could attempt to fill the huge void that AB’s absence would create.
Devon Conway went unsold in the 2021 auctions but he has established himself as a genuine power hitter for New Zealand. His recent exploits for New Zealand in the Test series against England has established his reputation as a trustable and dependable player. Therefore, at no. 5, Conway can bring steadiness with an unmatched ability to clear the ropes. His exceptional strike rate of 151 in the T20s only reiterates his ability as a power hitter.
AB had an uncanny ability to hit bowlers at will. Therefore, any player who is potentially replacing him should be able to clear the ropes with ease. Alex Hales’ limited-overs credentials need no introduction. He was one of the world’s first so-called “power-hitters”. The disciplinary issue in 2019 has resulted in him falling off the rather but if his 2020 BBL season is anything to go by, he still can deliver at the big stage. Having played at multiple positions for England and in franchise cricket, Hales will perfectly slot in at no. 4 for RCB. He has a pretty decent strike rate of 137 in T20s too.
RCB’s latest addition in the 2021 season can be a fantastic option to play in AB’s position. Maxwell has more or less all of AB’s qualities. He is the closest 360° player that the world has. This season, his role was that of a finisher and he did the job well. In 7 games, he amassed 223 runs at a healthy strike rate of 145 with a high score of 78. Just to fit AB’s role perfectly, Maxwell needs to be an enforcer while being a finisher. He has to learn to finish games on his own.
AB donned the gloves whenever the team balance was not right or whenever the team needed an extra specialist batsman. A perfect fit for such a case would be the Kiwi T20 keeper, Philips. He came into prominence after scoring the fastest T20I century for New Zealand against West Indies in November last year. He has scored a total of 1147 runs in the last three editions of CPL. The young batsman has been a consistent performer for the last two to three years and his aggressive batting style could make him a perfect choice for RCB as a finisher.
It is a known fact that Roy is currently in SRH but he has spent most of his time on the bench. SRH is happy with Warner and Bairstow doing their opening duties. It is likely that Roy would be back in the auction pool next season. It would be a perfect opportunity for RCB to snap up a stroke maker of the caliber of AB. Roy can hit the ball clean and far. On his day, he can take the attack to the opposition and finish games on his own. These are the two qualities that were AB’s biggest utilities. Roy would therefore be a perfect fit in AB’s position.