Bangalore: Having come agonisingly close to lifting last year`s Indian Premier League and Twenty20 Champions titles, Royal Challengers Bangalore would be keen to lay their hands on the elusive IPL trophy this year.
RCB would hope to continue their stunning performances without too much dependence on explosive West Indian batsman Chris Gayle, besides working on improving their consistency.
The team under Daniel Vettori looked invincible in the last edition of the IPL as well as the T20 Champions Trophy when they successfully made it to both the finals before losing to Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians, respectively.
The advantage of the RCB is they have intimidating batsmen like Tillakaratne Dilshan, Virat Kohli and A B De Villiers, and bowlers like Dirk Nannes, Zaheer Khan, Vettori and spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan in their ranks.
Gayle was in tremendous form in the Bangladesh Premier League, while Kohli left an indelible mark in the recently-concluded Asia Cup and in the tour Down Under.
Dilshan, known for his fireworks right from the word go, makes for a deadly combination with Gayle. And De Villiers is a batsman for all situations, who unleashes shots at will when
If Zaheer has mastered the art of moving the ball both ways, Nannes is good at bolstering up the other end with serious pace.
The Royal Challengers can also bank on a couple of domestic players in Cheteshwar Pujara and Saurabh Tiwary who could fit into the roles of lending solidity and pace to the side.
Skipper Vettori, who has a cool head, would also be an useful contributor with the bat lower down in the order.
Heavily dependent on Gayle, who almost single-handedly ferried them to the final of the last IPL, the Bangalore outfit will have to watch against their over dependence on the West Indian.
In fact, RCB`s bowling on a few occasions in the last season had also been found wanting and they would be working on that.
But they are fortunate to have Anil Kumble as mentor to inculcate discipline, which gives scope for the team to navigate troubled waters.
The squad: Daniel Vettori (capt), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Saurabh Tiwary, Arun Karthik, Andrew McDonald, Mohammad Kaif, CM Gautam, Cheteshwar Pujara, Zaheer Khan, Charl Langeveldt, Luke Pomersbach (wk), Rilee Rossouw, K P Appanna, Sreenath Aravind, Rajoo Bhatkal, Abrar Kazi, R Vinay Kumar, Abhimanyu Mithun, Muttiah Muralitharan, Karun Nair, Dirk Nannes, Ryan Ninan, Harshal Patel, Asad Pathan, Jamaluddin Syed Mohammad, Vijay Zol.
Coach: Ray Jennings.