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IPL 2021: With Only 12 Retained Players, What Should Be Bangalore’s Auction Ploy?

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The 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is underway as the teams announced the changes in their squads on the January 20. Alike every year, the franchises were asked to retain and release some of their players to manage their funds and team. Some teams made startling changes, while others decided to stick to their initial squad.

Royal Challengers Bangalore released nine players from their squad, including Chris Morris and Aaron Finch, ahead of the 2021 auction. Bangalore is yet to win their first IPL title and despite having a balanced squad last season, it won seven out of their 14 games last season, finishing fourth in the points table. They qualified for the playoffs, but they lost a squeaker against Sunrisers Hyderabad in the eliminator round.

List of retained players: Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Yuzvendra Chahal, Devdutt Padikkal, Navdeep Saini, Washington Sundar, Mohammed Siraj, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa, Josh Philippe, Shahbaz Ahmed and Pavan Deshpande.

List of released players: Aaron Finch, Chris Morris, Isuru Udana, Moeen Ali, Pawan Negi, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Shivam Dube, Dale Steyn, Parthiv Patel (Retired) and Umesh Yadav.

Purse remaining: Rs. 35.7 crore

Overall Slots remaining: 13

Overseas slots remaining: 4

Mitchell Starc has taken 34 wickets for RCB. Image Source: ESPN

There is no doubt that Bangalore’s chance of winning the trophy in every season primarily depends on Kohli’s and De Villiers’s performance. They are indeed the core strength of this team, or probably the only core strength of this team. It becomes arduous for Bangalore to win a match if these two do not contribute to the scorecard.

This is also one of the main reasons behind the inconsistency and dire performance of this team in the last few years. They need a well-balanced bowling attack, a proper middle order and more individuals to perform if they wish to win the IPL trophy. They have a substantial amount of money and slots remaining, and they will have a prodigious auction this year. But, what players should they get in their team?

The likes of Chahal and Sundar managed to resolve their spin bowling hitch, but they are still in trouble when it comes to their pace department. Last season again, Bangalore struggled with their pace options. Dale Steyn had the most egregious IPL of his career, and Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini and Mohammed Siraj all failed to deliver.

With only one overseas pace bowler in their current squad (Kane Richardson), Bangalore will look to buy a couple of pace bowling options in the upcoming auction. Mitchell Starc is one of them and Bangalore will run after Starc if he is available in the auction. Starc has previously played two seasons for Bangalore (2014 and 2015) and got 34 scalps in those two seasons. He was the lead bowler for Bangalore and played a crucial role in their qualification in the 2015 season.

Steve Smith has scored over 2,000 runs in the IPL. Image Source: BCCI

Chris Morris was the only leading light in the pace department for them in the last season. He got 11 scalps in his nine matches and the Bangalore team can also try to bring him back with a lesser amount. Their bowling attack is so badly debunked that sometimes, we forget they also need a proper middle-order batsman.

Every year, a new batsman comes, underperforms and gets released in the next season. Players including Shane Watson, KL Rahul, Travis Head and Dinesh Karthik are already familiar with this. This year, Bangalore will again look to strengthen its fragile middle order. However, in this auction, they will have plenty of options.

Bangalore might go after Steve Smith as he could be a valuable addition to this squad and probably bring an end to Bangalore’s middle-order quest. Smith would be a perfect candidate for the number four position and his staggering numbers at Chinnaswamy explain why. He has scored 291 runs in nine matches (all formats). He averaged over 75 in one-day cricket and 44 in T20 cricket at Chinnaswamy. His presence will also add some more experience to this Bangalore squad and the leadership qualities are just a cherry on top.

Fun Fact: Steve Smith was a part of Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2010, but did not get a single match. 

RCB will look to reinstate Shivam Dube. Image Source: BCCI

However, if they purchase Starc at a higher auction, they will have to drop the idea of buying Smith. Instead, they can go for Glenn Phillips or Alex Hales. Glenn Phillips is arguably the most underrated overseas wicketkeeper option available in the auction. Apart from his wicket-keeping abilities, Phillips is in great touch with the bat recently. Recently, he scored the fastest T20 century for New Zealand against West Indies. Phillips can also be a gripping alternative for opening the batting.

While we are talking about openers, Alex Hales can be the perfect replacement for Aaron Finch. The English batsman has scored over 500 runs in the ongoing Big Bash League with an average of over 40. He also holds the golden bat (Most Runs) in the ongoing BBL, followed by Josh Philippe, who is part of the current RCB squad. Both Alex and Phillips could be great options for them if the team fails to buy Steve Smith.

Bangalore has only two prominent Indian batsmen, namely Virat Kohli and Devdutt Padikkal, in their current squad. They will still have nine slots remaining if they sew up their overseas players. Bangalore will aim to lay out some hefty amount on Indian domestic players. Karun Nair, who plays for Karnataka in domestic leagues, can be a significant fit for Bangalore in the middle order. Shivam Dube had an ordinary last season. However, he can be brought back for a lesser price as an Indian all-rounder option. Mohit Sharma or Ankit Rajpoot are some fitting choices for back-up pace bowling options, and Dhruv Jorel, Anuj Rawat and Aryan Juyal are some young Indian wicket-keepers Bangalore should keep their eye on.

RCB has the second-highest auction purse. Image Source: BCCI

Bangalore should also try to rope in Shakib Al Hasan as a replacement for Moeen Ali. They had to let go of Moeen Ali after a disappointing last season as he managed to score 16 runs and took only a wicket in his three innings. On the contrary, Shakib is currently the number one ranked all-rounder in one-day cricket and ranks second in the T20 format. Although the inclusion of Shakib in this Bangalore squad is highly unlikely as they already have four spinners and, the Chinnaswamy wicket does not reward the spinners, especially in a tournament like IPL.

Bangalore will enter the auction with a massive Rs 35.7 crores and they might look at big buys. They have a much balanced squad in comparison to what they had in 2018 or 2019. But Bangalore has to think beyond the dynamic duo of Virat and De Villiers. Their pace department needs to step up and show culpability if they wish for fruition the ‘Ee Sala cup Namde’.

The mini-auction is all set to take place on February 18 in Chennai after the second test match between India and England. Additionally, the IPL trophy is likely to fly back to India and the tournament will take place in April. This auction will also be the last auction before the mega auction and the addition of one or two new IPL franchises in the 2022 season.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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