The addition of Australian Glenn Maxwell, the franchise’s Rs. 14.25-crore purchase ahead of this season’s IPL, solidifies the middle order, according to Mike Hesson, RCB’s director of cricket operations.
“Glenn Maxwell is a fantastic player and fits what we require in the middle order. We want some X-factor players, that high-impact player we’ve talked about. We’ve just found through the middle overs as an area (to work on), so to have another player of that quality just adds to the likes of AB de Villiers and a two-pronged attack through the middle overs and the back end,” the New Zealander said on Wednesday.
The Australian, who played for Punjab Kings last year, had a below-par IPL returning 108 runs and three wickets in 13 outings. But Hesson believes the experienced Maxwell will turn things around with the bat and beef up the bowling attack.
“We know on his day, he can turn a game on its head. We need to use him in a space where we can maximise his skills and we’ve certainly spent some time looking at how we can do that. From a bowling point of view, we know he adds some good skills. Amazing fielder, also adds some leadership in terms of how he goes about things,” Hesson pointed out.
Hesson also backed Virat Kohli decision to open the innings and said the skipper’s confidence augurs well for the team.
“Virat is so experienced, he’s going to bat at the top of the order, a position he knows well. He’s in fine touch and his tempo is pleasing. I thought the way he played in the England T20Is showed his tempo and how he can control the innings. On his day if he does that at RCB, we know we can get above-par scores,” he said.
The three-time finalists go into the 14th edition with many all-rounders, in whom they invested heavily in the auction. New Zealand pacer all-rounder Kyle Jamieson is one among them, snapped up for a whopping Rs 15 crore.
Jamieson, who is 6-ft 8-inches tall, is eight T20Is old, yet much is expected from the 26-year-old.
“In some grounds you want someone who predominantly bowls cutters, some grounds, the ball swings and there’s bounce — Jamieson will be deadly in what he’s able to do. It’s a complement of skills in terms of that balance of what we require on certain days. With the bat, he’s got some skills there as well in terms of being a power player,” he said.
In the past, RCB were known to tweak the playing XI for almost every match. But that changed in the previous season with the focus being on consistency and continuity. Hesson said while individual match-ups were part of the game, the focus this season would be on uniformity.
“Match-ups are important with certain oppositions. We brought stability in the playing XI last year. Most of the players played almost every game. There were 1-2 tweaks due to injury, opposition or condition of the pitch. You certainly don’t want to be making wholesale changes just to suit particular match-ups,” he explained.
RCB begin their campaign against defending champions Mumbai Indians in the season opener in Chennai on April 9.