The 13th season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is only less than a month away and the predictions have already begun. Former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra also has one at hand. The 13th edition will get underway in the UAE from the 19th of September after many struggles, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Aakash Chopra has predicted that the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) could make it to the playoffs this year.
Royal Challengers Bangalore has been one of the most underperforming sides in tournament history. The last time they reached the playoffs was in 2016, which was only on the third occasion they did so.
Despite reaching in the finals thrice, the Virat Kohli-led side could not lift the trophy even once. While they have all the necessary ingredients in the batting department, they often perform poorly in the bowling department.
With the franchise signing some recruits this season, Aakash Chopra believes that the upcoming season will be good for RCB, backing them to perform well in all the departments. The 42-year old added that earlier, they used to fight for the wooden spot, however, the three-time finalists could end up in top four, provided they select the right playing eleven.
“But the RCB fans and Kohli fans will be more happy because I feel that this season will be good for RCB. Their bowling will be better than before and their batting will do good. Overall this season will be better than before. Earlier they used to fight for the wooden spoon but this year they will be in mid-table right from the beginning and they will challenge the top 4. I feel this time, if they play a proper XI, this team can go ahead and they could be in the playoffs is what I feel,” the cricketer-turned-commentator told in his Youtube channel.
“The bowlers will be worried” : Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra continued by saying that all the Indian fans want a replication of what Virat Kohli did in 2016. While he believes that the Indian and RCB skipper has the potential, he doubts whether one can repeat such performances twice. Kohli finished the 2016 season as the highest run-getter with 973 runs alongside four centuries. It is also the record for most runs in a single IPL edition.
“We all want that Kohli’s season should be such that it becomes memorable, similar to what happened in 2016. But can it happen like that, it is difficult to say because more than 900 runs are not made, 4 centuries in one season are not scored, that is a reality,” Chopra asserted.
Chopra stated that while Kohli may not be able to emulate his performances from that of 2016, he would indeed enjoy a prolific season. He underlined that having not played cricket for a long time, his hunger will be present and the bowlers need to stay beware.
“So he may not be able to reach that level but I feel his season will be good as a batsman because he will be very hungry having not played cricket for such a long time. So the bowlers will be worried,” he added.