WPL 2024: At the auctions that preceded the WPL 2023, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) had undoubtedly assembled ‘the dream team’ with the inclusion of stalwarts and established legends in the form of Smriti Mandhana, Ellyse Perry, Sophie Devine, Heather Knight, Dane van Niekerk and Megan Schutt to name a few and couple this with all the domestic picks, the team seemed more than settled.
However, the inaugural season of the WPL proved to be a nightmare as the team won just two out of their eight matches failing to make it anywhere close to the knockouts. As they crashed out early, it gave them a reality check of how everything transpired and what to plan ahead of WPL 2024.
Earlier, in October the management announced the appointment of the highly celebrated and decorated WBBL coach Luke Williams as the Head Coach for the WPL 2024 and the management further also retained 11 players and released a total of 7 players.
🗣 𝑶𝑭𝑭𝑰𝑪𝑰𝑨𝑳 𝑨𝑵𝑵𝑶𝑼𝑵𝑪𝑬𝑴𝑬𝑵𝑻
🔏 𝐑𝐄𝐓𝐀𝐈𝐍𝐄𝐃: The right mix of youth, experience, talent and flamboyance, for WPL 2! 🙌
— Royal Challengers Bangalore (@RCBTweets) October 19, 2023
- Retained players: Asha Shobana, Disha Kasat, Indrani Roy, Kanika Ahuja, Renuka Singh Thakur, Richa Ghosh, Shreyanka Patil, Smriti Mandhana, Ellyse Perry, Heather Knight, Sophie Devine
- Players released by RCB: Komal Zanzad, Poonam Khemnar, Preeti Bose, Sahana Pawar, Dane van Niekerk, Erin Burns, Megan Schutt
With the auctions fast approaching, in less than a week the management would certainly want to get their strategies right and fill in on the gaps that they would not want coming to haunt them in the WPL 2024. Currently, they still have a purse amount of 3.35 Crores to spend at the auctions.
With the retained core, let us delve into the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) Analysis to understand this better ahead of WPL 2024!
RCB once again seem formidable with a refreshed and mature skipper Smriti Mandhana leading the pack. With the retentions of stellar international players like Ellyse Perry, Heather Knight and Sophie Devine; the batting order and half the playing 11 picks itself.
Richa Ghosh adds a lot of value with her power-hitting and with the experienced and promising domestic players in the stable like Asha Shobana, Disha Kasat, Indrani Roy, Kanika Ahuja and Renuka Singh Thakur; the core of the team seems to be sorted.
With the release of players like Komal Zanzad, Poonam Khemnar, Preeti Bose and Sahana Pawar who had reasonable seasons at the Senior Women’s T20 Trophy and the ongoing Inter Zonal Trophy; RCB might miss their services in the bowling department especially Preeti Bose and Sahana Pawar.
With even Megan Schutt released, they will miss an experienced pacer to spearhead their pace bowling department which might be a concern although Ellyse Perry who is coming from a good WBBL season will dilute this threat to some extent. Even the over-reliance on Smriti Mandhana and the overseas players might come to bite them and capitalising on the crunch moments will be the key.
Using all the players at their disposal will be crucial as last season the star all-rounder Dane van Niekerk unfortunately warmed the bench for the better part of the season which was beyond logic and rationale so this season, they should optimally utilise players acquired.
Another opportunity that presents itself is how RCB can undo all the dismal performances they put up in the previous season and put up respectable performances for themselves and their fans in this edition of the coveted league.
The domestic stars would certainly want to leverage all the opportunities at this stage and stake a claim for India in the A and emerging tours and rubbing shoulders with the international stars would do them a world of good.
The Leader of our Women's Team at the #RCBxLeaders 🤝
Smriti spoke about how the #WPL has changed the landscape of women's cricket and is a platform for upcoming talents 🗣️#PlayBold #RCBxLeaders #ನಮ್ಮRCB #RCB #WomensCricket @LeadersBiz @mandhana_smriti pic.twitter.com/S72k9gECTi
— Royal Challengers Bangalore (@RCBTweets) November 29, 2023
One of the biggest challenges for them can be the injuries of key players that could be a big dampener to their prospects and steering clear of that will be crucial.
What they will need to cover at the auctions of WPL 2024?
With seven spots, 3 overseas left RCB can aspire to acquire the services of:
- A premium pace bowler- In Megan Schutt’s absence, RCB would seek to get the likes of Tara Norris, Annabel Sutherland or Shabnim Ismail on board to lead the pace department and nurture the youngsters.
- A spinner- To provide ample support to Shreyanka Patil, perhaps getting Georgia Wareham, Parunika Sisidia or even Amanda-Jade Wellington will be crucial.