We Have A Formidable Team Kohli Has Luxury Of Choice Says Vijay Mallya
It has been a busy month for Vijay Mallya, owner of two T20 cricket franchises -Royal Challengers Bangalore and the newly-acquired Barbados Tridents in the Caribbean Premier League.The player auctions for the two leagues were held earlier this month and Mallya was in attendance at both.
If roping in Shane Watson was the highlight of the Indian Premier League auction, then Tridents' marquee player AB de Villiers was the talking point of CPL. Incidentally the South African superstar batsman is also a key member of RCB. Known or his expensive buys in IPL, it was hardly surprising to see Watson turn out to be the most expensive player of the season.
In an exclusive interview with TOI Mallya said with Watson and Stuart Binny now in the mix, the dearth of all-rounders in the Virat Kohli-led team has been taken care of. "We are delighted with the outcome of the auction," Mallya said. "We needed all-rounders and secured both Watson and Binny. We now have a perfect balance. We have a superb and formidable team combination with plenty of options for Virat to choose from."
Having spent more than half their purse of Rs 21.625 crore on Watson and Binny (Rs 2 crore), Mallya pointed out that RCB used the remainder judiciously. "We did not miss out on any targeted player. After we secured Watson we bid for certain players at bargain prices till their values forced us to stop," Mallya pointed out.
Like the previous two auctions, Mallya's bid to secure the services of southpaw Yuvra Singh raised eyebrows. The staggering Rs 14-crore bid by RCB in 2014 made him the most expensive player. He was offloaded in the next auction but RCB joined the bidding bandwagon for the veteran who eventually went to Delhi Daredevils for Rs 16 crore. This season too RCB made a strong pitch but dropped out midway through.
Admitting his interest in bringing back Yuvraj to RCB, Mallya explained "We bid for Yuvraj up to a point when the bidding slowed down and he represented great value. When the price started escalating we dropped out."
That said, some of the players who RCB were keen on and successful in adding to the roster were Australian Big Bash stars Travis Head and Samuel Badree Talking about the reason behind getting the two players on board, Mallya said: "We bid for Travis and Badree to give us specialist spinning options. Badree can also open with the new ball."
While Mallya is happy with the team composition, will the explosive foreign line-up, which includes de Villiers, Chris Gayle, Watson, Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson amongst others, pose a problem of plenty while finalising the four overseas players in the starting XI? Mallya doesn't see that as a problem. Instead he believes it is a luxury on offer for skipper Kohli and head coach Daniel Vettori. "We have a solid team of exceptional talent. Virat and Dan have the luxury of choice now depending on conditions."