Interest in Proteas fast bowler Dale Steyn arrived quite late during Thursday's Indian Premier League auction in Kolkata, but the Royal Challengers Bangalore eventually bought him for Rs 2,00,00,000.
Steyn went unsold for three rounds before RCB bagged the star pace ace. They also managed to buy Australian batsman Aaron Finch, Sri Lanka all-rounder Isuru Udana and South African all-rounder Chris Morris.
Their bowling stocks are looking a lot healthier for the upcoming season, suggesting outright betting odds on RCB to win IPL 2020 are right on the money.
“We knew we wanted Steyn but we knew if we put a bid on him early, it might have gone up to three or four crore, which would have had flow-on effects,” RCB director of cricket operations Mike Hesson told the RCB's website.
“I probably exchanged a couple of hundred messages with captain Virat Kohli for a couple of hours. I think he thought we went to sleep in the middle for a couple of hours as well, but he was well aware of what our planning was. He was keen at the end, as we were, to get Udana and Steyn.”
Udana has been making quite a name for himself on the international T20 circuit and it shows in RCB's eagerness to have him. He recently won the Mzansi Super League title with the Paarl Rocks and is a well balanced player for Bangalore, who need bowlers who can bat. They don't want to reduced their batting resources, but they need to beef up their bowling ranks, so Udana is a great fit.
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“We thought Udana was going to be well sought after, so we had to slow-play that one a little bit. In the end, it worked out the way we wanted but it did require a sense of patience, which is not one of my main attributes,” added Hesson.
Morris is a similar player to Udana. He offers any franchise plenty with the bat and ball. While he is not a specialist in either, this could play right into the hands of bettors when individual Indian Premier League markets open. Backing Morris to finish as RCB's highest wicket-taker overall will probably be more favourable than betting to be the top run-scorer in a specific match.
“Chris is a really good addition, in terms of being a three-in-one cricketer; he can bowl upfront, can bowl at the death, he's got some power with the bat as well. Udana is exciting, in terms of especially on slower surfaces, we felt we wanted that. Kane Richardson is one of the best bowlers in international T20s for a while, so we've got a really good mix of players,” said Hesson.
IPL Finishing Positions for Royal Challengers Bangalore
A Bangalore IPL team that has had plenty of superstars over the years, including Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Kohli and Shane Watson, has never won an IPL title. They've reached a good few finals, but never clinched the trophy. This has often been down to their inability to support great batsmen with enough good bowlers. Also, it's not great when those batting stars in firing in isolation and not gelling as a unit. If it's different during IPL 2020, and they get all these things right, RCB are a good bet to win the title.