Royal Challengers Bangalore on Saturday announced a slew of changes to their combination ahead of IPL 2021 in UAE, including roping in Sri Lanka’s Wanindu Hasaranga as a replacement for Adam Zampa. Head coach Simon Katich stepped down due to personal reasons as well, leaving Mike Hesson to take over his role in addition to being Director of Cricket.
In other changes, Sri Lanka’s Dushmantha Chameera replaced Daniel Sams. Tim David replaced Finn Allenn as well. Allenn and Scott Kuggeleign will be with the New Zealand team while Kane Richardson and Daniel Sams are unavailable.
Hasaranga, the legspinner and lower order hitter, was impressive in India’s series against Sri Lanka picking up 7 wickets from 3 matches to be Man of the Series.
Talking about the changes in the team, Mike Hesson said, “We have made some changes to the squad pertaining to the situation. We have come a long way and have shown steady progress as a team. The addition of Wanindu Hasaranga, Tim David and Dushmantha Chameera couldn’t have come at a better time during the
replacement window, as we aim to continue with the momentum, building on our performance from earlier this year."
In a press conference, Hesson explained the franchise had their eyes on Hasaranga for a while.
“We have a scouting programme for at least the last two years where we know players around the world. Wanindu was in our radar for a long time. It’s certainly not a recency factor. We’re not surprised by his success in recent times. We like his skillset, offers us the chance to bat a little bit deep. Gives us a lot of exciting options. The fact that he performed against India is great, but not surprising."
The Indian players, support staff and the team management will be assembling in Bengaluru on August 21 following which the team will undergo 7 days of quarantine and will undergo Covid tests for 3 days during the period. The team will then depart via a chartered flight from Bangalore on August 29. The other international players and staff will assemble in the UAE starting August 29. There will be another 6 days of quarantine in the UAE.
Talking about his dual role, Hesson said:
“We have a very experienced coaching group. My role will be working with the group. Role changes slightly, have to be a bit more hands on. Looking forward to it. I have been involved over the last two years and know the support staff really well."
RCB have won 5 of their seven matches, and Hesson said they have to repeat the processes that made them successful.
“It’s very important as a group that we spend the time we have, reaffirming the key components of why we were successful. Wasn’t by accident, it was by having key performers at key roles. The time we have in Dubai will be critical to get players up to speed."