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Banking on the young

Special Correspondent
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Team chosen with an eye on the future: Mallya

Coffee break: Co-owner of Kings XI Punjab Preity Zinta and RCB owner Vijay Mallya at day two of the IPL auction in Bangalore on Sunday. — Photo: G.P. Sampath Kumar
Coffee break: Co-owner of Kings XI Punjab Preity Zinta and RCB owner Vijay Mallya at day two of the IPL auction in Bangalore on Sunday. — Photo: G.P. Sampath Kumar

Finally as the dollars and star-dust settled down after the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction ran its course at the ITC Royal Gardenia Hotel here on Sunday, it's time to cheer for a new-look Royal Challengers Bangalore team. The old guard has ebbed away with Anil Kumble seamlessly blending into the “Chief Mentor's” role, while other mainstays such as Rahul Dravid, Jacques Kallis and Dale Steyn have moved to different teams.

The dapper Robin Uthappa was snapped up by Pune, and on Sunday RCB failed to hold on to its pace spearhead R. Vinay Kumar. Vinay Kumar will now turn out for Kochi, as the rival team pipped past RCB at $4,75,000.

RCB managed to hold on to speedster Abhimanyu Mithun, and though the local dynamics within the team may have changed following the auction, owner Vijay Mallya remained upbeat about his squad. “We have a young team, perhaps one of the youngest in the IPL, and I am confident,” he said.

Asked about losing Dravid to the Rajasthan Royals, Mr. Mallya said: “I have known Rahul as a young boy, and you all know that his father worked with the UB Group. I have the utmost respect and regard for Rahul's cricketing ability, but we decided to go in for a young team and also face the consequences of that decision. Kumble, who is such a legend and is now our mentor, also suggested that we select a young team with an eye on the future.”

With Kumble hanging up his boots and the second rung moving to other teams, it remains to be seen who will lead the Challengers in the IPL during April and May. Last season, coach Ray Jennings said that Virat Kohli was a potential captain, but the last word is still not out on this subject.

Meanwhile, RCB with its slew of fresh-buys, ranging for Zaheer Khan to Tillakaratne Dilshan, will offer fresh cheer to its fans.

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