RCB: Brimming with batting bazookas!

The now seasoned India Test captain Virat Kohli will lead a batting-heavy RCB side, and needless to say, he will be the most sought-after figure in this edition.

Skipper Virat Kohli and Sarfaraz Khan celebrate after Royal Challengers Bangalore had beaten Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL last year. Kohli leads a star-studded team this year with the franchise still looking for its first IPL crown.   -  K. R. DEEPAK

When Virat Kohli joined Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on a youth contract in 2008,it was meant to give the youngster a taste of international action. Eight years since, Kohli is set dominate the entire show.

Arguably the best Twenty20 batsman in the sport, Kohli has regularly put the best attacks to the sword. The now seasoned India Test captain will lead a batting-heavy RCB side, and needless to say, he will be the most sought-after figure in this edition.

If ever there exists any competition to Kohli’s numero uno status in the shortest format, it comes in the form of South African maverick AB de Villiers and West Indian marauder Chris Gayle. All three superstars turn out in RCB colours — in the eyes of rival bowlers, this is a nightmare which never ends.

Recently-retired Australian all-rounder Shane Watson is another big name on the roster. Watson, a two-time player of the tournament winner with Rajasthan Royals, has consistently been at his very best in the IPL. RCB, no doubt, had this in mind when it shelled out USD 1.4 million for his services at the most-recent auction.

In the bowling department, pacers Adam Milne and Mitchell Starc stand out. However, with a maximum of four overseas players allowed in the playing XI, one of the two could be relegated to the bench (with Watson, Gayle and de Villiers also in contention). Add miserly West Indian leggie Samuel Badree to the mix, and the team management has an intriguing puzzle to solve.

Among the Indians, fast bowler Varun Aaron, left-arm seamer S. Arvind and offie Parvez Rasool will lead the charge.

This side is packed with star quality, but it remains to be seen if this is enough to carry the franchise to a maiden IPL title.

Squad: Shane Watson, Stuart Binny, Kane Richardson, Samuel Badree, Travis Head, Praveen Dubey, Vikramjeet Malik, Iqbal Abdulla, Sachin Baby, Akshay Karnewar, Vikas Tokas, K.L. Rahul, Parvez Rasool, Abu Nechim, Harshal Patel, Kedar Jadhav, Mandeep Singh, Sarfaraz Ahmed, S. Arvind, Varun Aaron, Virat Kohli (capt.), Yuzvendra Chahal, A.B. de Villiers, David Wiese, Adam Milne, Chris Gayle, Mitchell Starc.