Former South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis is a proven performer and his inclusion will strengthen the top-order batting and benefit the team with his leadership skills, said Royal Challengers Bangalore head coach Sanjay Bangar.
The 37-year-old veteran batter, who has been part of the Chennai Super Kings for many years and also opened the batting for them, was among the top buys for RCB which bought 19 players at the IPL Mega Auction.
“The addition of Faf du Plessis adds real strength to the batting department. He is a proven performer, a seasoned campaigner and has delivered at the highest levels,” Bangar said in a release from the franchise, a day after the auction.
“We were looking at someone who can solidify our top order and his inclusion into the team solves just that, with diverse experience of playing across formats gives us options, not only in terms of opening the batting line but also with leadership skills.” RCB also acquired Indian all-rounder Harshal Patel (Rs 10.75 cr), Sri Lankan leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga (Rs 10.75 cr), Australian pacer Josh Hazlewood (Rs 7.75 cr) and India wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik (Rs 5.50 cr) among others.
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“We are quite satisfied with our haul at the auctions to form a balanced team. Our plan was to bring stability and at the same time, have variations owing to the changing situations in a T20 tournament,” Bangar said.
“We aimed to have a solid role for each player that we pick along with some back-ups in the same form. We have achieved a well-rounded pool of talents from international and domestic cricket. ”
Speaking about some of their top buys, Bangar said, “Josh Hazlewood brings a great arch to the bowling department. He has been in the circuit for quite some time, showing us every time what he does the best and brings a wealth of experience in the T20 format.
“Wanindu Hasaranga is a wrist spinning all-rounder who can bat at 7, and we were looking closely at picking a quality leggie in the spin department. The fact that he can contribute with the bat as well is a great value add. We required a good No. 6 and a finisher, who we have found in Dinesh Karthik.
“Harshal Patel did exceptionally well in the last season and was a natural choice for us to go that mile on the bid. We are very happy to have him and some of our players return to the RCB family and we couldn’t be happy to reinvest in players who we have seen develop over the years.” RCB had retained three players — Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell and Mohammed Siraj.
RCB’s Director of Cricket Operations, Mike Hesson said he was happy with they have got a balanced team of overseas and domestic players.
“We managed to cover all our bases with multi-dimensional skill sets, that was key to our strategy getting into the auctions. Majority of things went as per plan considering the auction dynamics, we managed to check off all the criteria we had set out to achieve for RCB team,” he said.
“The strategy was to define dedicated roles for players, who we identified, and to strategically go after individual players, managing the purse wisely… the budget remains to be a constraint, but we are very happy with the outcome.”
RCB Chairman Prathmesh Mishra said, “We have got some seasoned players who we have witnessed giving eclectic performances in recent cricket tournaments and talented youngsters who have shown tremendous potential with their consistent efforts in their rising cricket career.”