Will AB de Villiers keep wickets: RCB Director of Cricket opened up on their wicket-keeping options ahead of IPL 2021.
Indian Premier League franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore Director of Cricket Mike Hesson has confirmed that captain Virat Kohli will open the innings alongside Devdutt Padikkal in the upcoming 14th season of the cash-rich league.
“Certainly. We talked about it before the auction because it came into our auction planning in terms of how we wanted to structure our lineup. No surprise there.
“Delighted that he got an opportunity for India to open the other day [third T20I against England in Ahmedabad] and show everybody exactly what he’s capable of. We certainly know that. Just a reminder for everybody,” Hesson said in a video posted across RCB’s social media handles.
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While they didn’t open in all the matches, Kohli and Padikkal did form a successful partnership at the top of the order in IPL 2020. Having opened alongside his deputy Rohit Sharma against England, Kohli had himself hinted about him looking forward to open the batting in IPL 2021.
Will AB de Villiers keep wickets for RCB in IPL 2021?
Despite a couple of genuine wicket-keeping options in former South Africa captain AB de Villiers and Australia batsman Josh Philippe in their squad, Royal Challengers bought the likes of Mohammed Azharuddeen and KS Bharat to have more options in the department.
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Being asked about the same, Hesson hinted that RCB might continue with their strategy of playing de Villiers as a wicket-keeper batsman. “We were delighted with the fact that he [AB de Villiers] loved it [wicket-keeping], he embraced it. He wanted to continue doing it, he is a real option.
“We’ve now got a couple of other options which is great. Mohammed Azharuddeen is a real natural athlete with the gloves and in the field. We also have KS Bharat, who’s a specialist keeper, gives us different options as well,” Hesson mentioned.
Bold Diaries: Virat Kohli to open for RCB in Vivo IPL 2021
Mike Hesson talks about Virat opening the batting, and ABD still being a wicket-keeping option for the team heading into the all-important IPL season!#IPL2021 #PlayBold #WeAreChallengers pic.twitter.com/TNFSlEtkEN
— Royal Challengers Bangalore (@RCBTweets) March 25, 2021
Playing de Villiers as a wicket-keeper batsman further provides Bangalore with an option of playing an extra batsman. In addition to Azharuddeen and Bharat, RCB also have specialist batsmen such as Rajat Patidar and Sachin Baby in their squad now. One of these specialist batsmen could easily fit into RCB’s lineup at No. 3 with de Villiers at No. 4.