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RCB will be depleted without the likes of Kohli, de Villiers and Rahul: Sourav Ganguly

"Virat Kohli is an asset to any side," Ganguly as quoted as saying by India Today.

Sourav Ganguly
Sourav Ganguly. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images for The ICC)

We are in for a blockbuster opening encounter of the 10th season of Vivo IPL as Royal Challengers Bangalore take on defending Champions Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad in a few hours time. RCB will be missing the likes of their captain Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and KL Rahu. While Kohli and de Villiers is expected to join the team after recuperating from the injury woes, Rahul will miss the entire tournament and is currently in London undergoing a surgery.

The RCB line-up looked a totally settled unit prior to the tournament but losing out players like de Villiers, Kohli and KL Rahul will surely affect their balance and they might have to wait yet another year for their maiden IPL title. All-rounder Shane Watson will lead the side in the absence of Kohli and de Villiers and will look to get his team off to a flying start. Meanwhile former India captain Sourav Ganguly said that the absence of 3 big names will make RCB really weak.

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KL Rahul is a different player since the last time he played in the IPL. RCB will miss both these players. Shane Watson is leading the side. I guess there could be some niggle issues with AB de Villiers. These are three big players and in their absence, RCB will be really weak,” Ganguly was quoted as saying by India Today during an exclusive interview.

Ganguly backed Hyderabad to win the opening encounter against RCB and deemed them firm favourites, “Hyderabad is a better side compared to RCB. They are playing at home where they have changed their fortunes, where they never used to play and also considering the weaknesses in the RCB side. To start with, I will keep Hyderabad boys favourites,” he said.

The legendary captain also conceded that it might be the ideal platform for some veteran cricketers to claw their way back into the national reckoning with some exceptional performances. Especially for a guy like a Suresh Raina or a Shikhar Dhawan, it might be their last opportunity to showcase their talent and bounce back in the national team for their Champions Trophy title defence in June.

Speaking on the chances of Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 10, Ganguly said, “KKR is a good side. They have made their side differently because they are playing in different conditions. The wicket at Eden has got some grass and pace. The likes of Chris Lynn and other overseas players will enjoy the bounce and seam. They have the fast bowlers with them who can exploit these conditions well.”

Before the start of the tournament, Rising Pune Supergiant owner Sanjiv Goenka took a huge decision by replacing MS Dhoni with Steve Smith as the captain of the franchise. It was definitely a big call especially after knowing Dhoni has been the most successful captain for India and also has the best record for an IPL captain. Till now Dhoni has led Chennai Super Kings to two title triumphs and 2 Champions League title.

“I don’t know the real reason why Dhoni was replaced but I believe it’s their personal decision. I think Steve Smith will do well and it will also take the pressure off Dhoni and he can play the way he wants to and hit the ball the way he does,” Ganguly said.

The former captain concluded by picking 5 frontrunners for the title. “Hyderabad is good side. Pune is good too. Mumbai have always been consistent and RCB, once they are back to their full strength, will be good too. KKR also have a good side to go the distance. So there are quite a number of sides but for me these are the top five teams,” Ganguly signed off.

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