Royal Challengers Bangalore went home from the 2018 IPL player auction with a bagful of all-rounders. Chris Woakes, Moeen Ali, Colin de Grandhomme, Washington Sundar and the retained Pawan Negi will be useful options to have in a squad that is to play in varying conditions across the country. "We think we have eight [different] combinations,” said a delighted RCB chairman Amrit Thomas. It is another matter, though, to find the best one.

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Woakes, RCB's most expensive buy at 7.4 crore, is in fine form with the bat for England in Australia and his record as an all-rounder in first-class cricket – 455 wickets and over 5000 runs in first-class cricket – is indisputable. He was KKR's joint-highest wicket-taker last season, even if his economy rate was near nine an over. The issue with Woakes, and Moeen Ali, though, could be their availability. This year, English players will leave the IPL 10 days before the final; in 2019, they are expected to leave on May 1 to prepare for the World Cup at home. 

RCB may come to regard buying de Grandhomme for 2.2 crore as a bargain. The Zimbabwe-born New Zealander is a powerful striker of the ball, as evidenced by his unbeaten 40-ball-74 against Pakistan a fortnight ago.

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Washington Sundar, who had an overall economy rate of 6.16 for RPS last season, is an exciting prospect; RCB was surprised to have got him for 3.2 crore. Yuzvendra Chahal and he should make for a decent spin-bowling pair. 

In Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav and Tim Southee — along with the uncapped Kulwant Khejroliya and Navdeep Saini — in its ranks, RCB appears to have no dearth of fast bowlers. Death-bowling, though, has long been a concern, even when Mitchell Starc was in the side (for he had little support).

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In previous years, one constant RCB weakness has been a lack of depth in batting; the presence of K.L. Rahul helped shore up the middle order to some extent in 2016, during the side's run to the final. But the team appears to lack proven Indian batsmen this time. Manan Vohra promises much while Sarfaraz Khan, one of the three players the team retained, will be expected to deliver. Mandeep Singh, however, did little of note last season and RCB will hope the familiar story of reliance on Virat Kohli and A.B. de Villiers does not unfold again.