Virat Kohli's Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) have made a number of changes before the UAE leg of the 2021 Indian Premier League.
Sri Lankan players were the biggest beneficiaries, with spin bowling all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga and fast bowler Dushmantha Chameera included in the squad. Both players impressed during India's recent limited overs tour of the country where a weakened Indian team was led by Shikhar Dhawan and coached by Rahul Dravid.
Hasaranga picked up 4-9 in the third T20 against the Indians in July in Colombo, further establishing himself as a potent T20 leg-spinner. Hasaranga is now the second-ranked bowler in T20 Internationals.
Chameera, too, made a lasting impression with his express pace and variations during the India series.
Singapore's Tim David was among the players named in the squad after Australian players Adam Zampa and Daniel Sams and New Zealand's Finn Allen announced their unavailability.
In another major development, Australia's Simon Katich stepped down as the head coach of the franchise “due to personal reasons”. Mike Hesson, who is the director of cricket operations at RCB, will take over as coach of the team.
“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,” Hesson said.
“The addition of Wanindu Hasaranga, Tim David and Dushmantha Chameera couldn’t have come at a better time in the replacement window, as we aim to continue with the momentum, building on our performance from earlier this year.”
Speaking on the changes, Rajesh Menon, vice-president of RCB said: “As the season resumes in the UAE, it’s going to be an exciting chapter ahead. We would like to thank Katich for his work during his time at Royal Challengers and wish him success in the future.”
The eight-team T20 competition was suspended in May after several players and backroom staff tested positive for the coronavirus amid a devastating second wave of Covid-19 in India. The tournament is scheduled to resume from September 19 in the UAE with the final set for October 15.
Elsewhere, Australia fast bowler Nathan Ellis is set to join Punjab Kings for the second half of the IPL.
Ellis, who became the first player to register a T20 hat-trick on his debut against Bangladesh this month, was named on Thursday as one of Australia's three reserve players for the T20 World Cup, which begins just two days after the conclusion of the IPL in October.