RCB have made a brilliant start to their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 campaign.
- Glenn Maxwell has rediscovered his form in IPL while playing for the Royal Challengers Bangalore
- RCB have made a big statement in IPL 2021 by winning four out of their first five matches
- RCB’s Director of Cricket Operations Mike Hesson shared his views on the franchise’s performance so far
When Glenn Maxwell’s name was announced at the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 auction, not many bids were expected for the Australian all-rounder – who had a miserable season with Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) in IPL 2020. One of the most destructive players in white-ball cricket, Maxwell failed to hit a single six for the KL Rahul-side while batting in the middle-order. However, RCB, who have the reputation of being a batting powerhouse, went deep into their pockets, much to the surprise of everybody watching, to buy Maxwell for a whopping sum of Rs 14.25 crore.
While MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings (CSK) were equally interested in adding Maxwell to their roster, the Yellow Army pulled out after their last bid of Rs 14 crore. Come IPL 2021, Maxwell showed his critics why is he one of the most dangerous players in white-ball cricket as he produced back-to-back impressive knocks to help Virat Kohli’s men kick off their IPL campaign with four successive wins.
Speaking to timesnownews.com, RCB’s Director of Cricket Operations Mike Hesson shared his views on what made RCB come up with a huge bid for Maxwell.
“We look at a style of play in terms of how we want to play as a team and how potential players fulfill those roles so the ability of Glenn Maxwell to attack in middle overs is something that we needed to add to our playing group and also the fact that we get another bowling option with him being able to bowl an odd over or two here and there. So we looked at that and it was a really nice fit,” Hesson said.
Maxwell had a memorable season for Kings XI Punjab in 2014 – where he single-handedly guided the franchise to its maiden IPL final. Maxwell scored 554 runs that season at 34.50 but managed to cross the 300-run mark just once in the next six seasons. This season, however, he has been a delight to watch once again and already has 198 runs under his belt from five matches at an average of 49.50.
When asked why RCB went after Maxwell despite him not being in the best of form last season, Hesson added, “All of us Simon Katich, Virat and myself had all seen him at his best at different times and so we knew that when he is at his best, he could make a huge impact for us. So we were looking to see what we could do to help maximise Glenn Maxwell’s talent. And we are using him up in the order and that certainly helps, it allows him some time to get in and once he gets some bit of confidence, he can get on a roll. But we all knew that he was a high-quality player so we were pretty keen to get him.”
Another player who has been mighty impressive for RCB this season has been pacer Harshal Patel. The speedster, who was traded from Delhi Capitals (DC) ahead of IPL 2021, has taken everybody by surprise by emerging as the Purple Cap holder after five games for RCB.
Lauding Harshal’s unique skillset compared to other bowlers, Hesson said, “The fact that Harshal could bring something different to our bowling mix. We have got Saini and Siraj who are both excellent new-ball bowlers. Saini is very good through the middle. They have both got good pace. But Harshal has got a different skill set while bowling through the middle, the change of pace, the real consistency with yorkers, so those are things we saw in him. We also saw an experienced player as somebody who could come in and the captain can back him under tight pressure situations. We know it doesn’t guarantee success all the time as it’s a tough job but that experience is valuable and it just adds to the likes of Siraj and Saini.”
Just like Harshal, the entire RCB squad has taken everybody by a surprise by winning four matches in a row in the 14th edition. Their winning streak came to an end against CSK but they have still won four out of five matches.
In terms of batting as well as bowling, RCB look a much better side this season. While adding that it was still early in the tournament, Hesson shared his views on what according to him has changed for Bangalore this season compared to previous years.
“It’s still very early in the competition and we are not getting too far ahead of ourselves. I think we have got a better balance in terms of the three phases of the game. We identified some areas last year, especially with the bat in the middle we needed to explore a little bit of power, we have been able to do that. And also towards the backend of the death, both Siraj and Harshal have been exceptional and that obviously helps. We have got the ability to bat a bit deeper in the mix of our talent. We also have more bowling options this year. As a squad, we have got more fixability but as I said these are still early days,” Hesson signed off.