It's extraordinary that the Royal Challengers Bangalore are yet to have won the IPL, but it really does seem as though this may be their year. If it is then it also becomes Chris Gayle's year as he picks up the major T20 double. But Diageo have pulled out all the stops on this year's edition of the IPL and they've put together a team that would make any bowling line up weep.

The Chinnaswany Stadium seats 50,000 and it will be a shock if they can't fill it. Even I am considering making up some sort of an excuse to fly myself over to Bangalore so that I can watch them in action. They're the bookie's favourite and rightly so, this team are going to hit some very big scores indeed.

What would make a win for the Royal Challengers Bangalore all the more fun would be the conspicuous absence of the Indian taxpayer's dear old friend Vijay Mallya. I am not sure seeing the team he has funded over the past 8 years finally win the trophy on a telly back in chilly old England will bring him much joy.


Where to start? You almost feel as though to begin with one would be to disrespect the others. This is India Bet though and after a World Cup that lit up the nation, let's kick it off with the team captain Virat Kohli. The man of the 2016 World Cup continues to project himself further up the ladder of world cricketing legend. Smashing one record after the next, he is the pin that holds the current India side together. You couldn't have a better captain, unless you had Dhoni, perhaps, it's a tricky one to call.

Chris Gayle, excluding his century against England, did not have a particularly good World Cup. In fact, the way he got out against Joe Root in the final was pretty embarrassing. I suppose it's heartening though to know that even the Gods are sometimes fallible. Still, there is no doubting the fact that by the sheer weight of numbers he is the best T20 batsman the world has ever seen and even if he doesn't get out early then there is always...

...AB de Villiers. Let's face it, the RCB have the three best batsmen in the world in their team. The sort of fire power the American army only wish they could have. Fans of Delhi and Gujarat should bring helmets along to their games against RCB because sixes are what these guys do best. Oh, and then there's the likes of Stuart Binny and Shane Watson, not overtly shy themselves those lads.


It's not quite Kolkata but it's probably the second best bowling line up in the entire league. The inclusion of Samuel Badree could be absolutely key to the success of the Royal Challengers Bangalore. He had a terrific world cup and not only takes wickets but fiercely controls run rates, piling huge pressure on opposing batsmen.

Then there are the speedsters, Aussie duo Kane Richardson and Mitchell Starc (both of whom are tidy with the bat) will be able to add the spice and create errors once Badree has put on the pressure. Particularly with the knowledge that they have been set a huge total or that the world's best chase specialist will be following them, there will be enormous pressure on batsmen when they face the RCB.

Varun Aaron completes an extremely solid line up but really the best value this bowling line up has is the fact that they are supported by an incredible batting line up. If batting first, these bowlers will likely be defending a huge total and if batting second, these bowlers will be bowling at a team who know that they will have to post a score above 180 and probably 200 to stand any chance of winning.


These guys are the real deal and are arguably the best team in the league's history. They are the team to beat and even as favourites I think they are the team to put your money on to win the tournament. I don't think it's out of the realms of possibility that they go through the season without losing, they're that good. But we shall see, of all the world's sporting leagues, the IPL surprises us most often.

Royal Challengers Bangalore squad 2016-17

Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle, Adam Milne, Mitchell Starc, Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, Yuzvendra Chahal, Harshal Patel, Shane Watson, Stuart Binny, Kane Richardson, Samuel Badree, Travis Head, Praveen Dubey, Vikramjeet Malik, Akshay Karnewar, Iqbal Abdullah, Sachin Baby, Vikas Tokas.