5 players who left RCB and excelled the next season

Mohit Sharma
·8-min read

RCB have often let go of players who were one season away from making it big.
RCB have often let go of players who were one season away from making it big.

RCB (Royal Challengers Bangalore) are one of the only three teams in the IPL that have never won the lucrative T-20 league. Moreover, they are the only side to have reached the final of the tournament thrice without coming home with the silverware.

The failure of RCB to go all the way in the IPL has cast many doubts over the franchise's management over the years. After a recent overhaul in their management, the Bengaluru-based IPL team now has Mike Hesson and Simon Katich calling the shots as they look forward to better player management.

However, there is no taking away from the fact that, in the past, RCB's management has made many a blunder when it came to player retention.

There have been many cases where big names were released prematurely because the team management couldn't find the right position for them. The players we're talking about, went on to make it big with their new franchise in the next season of the IPL.

There is now a saying going around that ex-RCB players are the most dangerous ones. Unfortunately for the Virat Kohli-led unit, there is enough evidence to back up that claim. On that note, we take a look at five players who were once a part of the RCB outfit, and upon ouster from the franchise, found success in their next IPL season.

Five former RCB players who found success in the very next IPL season after leaving the franchise:

1): Rahul Dravid

Rahul Dravid was RCB's captain in the inaugural season of the IPL in 2008.
Rahul Dravid was RCB's captain in the inaugural season of the IPL in 2008.

The Wall of Indian cricket and the local Bengaluru boy, Rahul Dravid was RCB's first-ever captain. The Indian batting giant did not have a great run during his stint with the IPL franchise from 2008-10, but he did produce a few match-winning performances to get them out of trouble.

Dravid was released from the RCB squad after the 2010 edition of the IPL. He was then drafted by the Rajasthan Royals where he played under the leadership of Shane Warne.

Little did RCB know that the Wall still had a few tricks up his sleeve as he came into the Royals outfit as a changed batsman. Rahul Dravid in 2011 was more attacking than he had ever been in his 15-year career up till then point. That was evident as he went on to become the highest run-getter for the Royals in the IPL that season, scoring 343 runs in 12 innings.

However, Dravid's journey with the Royals didn't end after his retirement as a player. The most important role he went to play for them was that of a mentor. After he retired from the game in 2012, Dravid donned a new hat, using his strategic genius to unearth new talent (who are now superstars for Rajasthan) such as Sanju Samson, Steve Smith and co.

2): Shane Watson

Shane Watson
Shane Watson

It was the talk of the town when RCB signed Shane Watson for a whopping Rs 9.5 crore for the 2016 edition of the IPL. However, one may say that Watson's abilities were not utilised by RCB to the fullest. The Australian frequently came out to bat in RCB's lower middle order and did not bowl as frequently as he should have.

While most of the RCB batting was done by Virat Kohli in 2016, Watson had a bigger role to play in the 2017 edition of the competition which saw both AB de Villiers and Kohli miss out on the start of the tournament owing to injuries. Watson captained the RCB side for a few games in the IPL that season where he opened the innings but was not as effective as he would have liked to be.

As a result, after just one underwhelming season, the Australian all-rounder was released from the RCB camp and bought by MS Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings. That would be the turning point in the latter half of Watson's IPL career. He went on to open the innings for CSK in every game and was a key contributor in their title-winning season.

The star all-rounder amassed 555 runs in just 15 innings in IPL 2018, scoring two centuries, one of which was an unbeaten effort in the final against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

3): Quinton de Kock

Quinton de Kock in action for RCB
Quinton de Kock in action for RCB

The skillful glovesman cum top-order batsman from Johannesburg was drafted into the RCB's roster for the 2018 edition of the IPL.

With the then 26-year-old being one of the best wicketkeepers around, one could safely assume that the Bengaluru franchise had long term plans for Quinton de Kock. These assumptions, however, proved misplaced as RCB ended up releasing the southpaw the very next year in a cash-transfer deal with the Mumbai Indians.

While de Kock did not have a record-breaking IPL season with RCB by any means, he certainly did produce some meaningful knocks. The present South African captain would now have proven to be a worthy member of the leadership team at the RCB camp had he remained with the franchise.

De Kock joined the Mumbai Indians camp for the 2019 edition of IPL and almost instantly made RCB regret their decision of letting him go.

The southpaw went on to hammer the opposition bowlers all over the park. He was MI's top run-scorer and third overall that season, making a mammoth 529 runs in just 16 innings. With that kind of performance, it is safe to say that De Kock was one of the main reasons for the success enjoyed by the Mumbai franchise in 2019.

4): Chris Gayle

Chris Gayle
Chris Gayle

The Universe Boss announced his arrival in IPL 2011 in a rather memorable fashion when he tonked his former team, the Kolkata Knight Riders, all over the park en route to a century on his RCB debut.

Over the years, Gayle went on to become one of the key senior players at the RCB camp as he was the one who took the lead while skipper Kohli developed his game over the years.

The 2018 IPL auction, however, saw Chris Gayle feature for the first time in eight years because the Virat Kohli-led franchise chose not to retain the big-hitter from Jamaica after he had an inconsistent season in 2017.

The RCB management may have been concerned about Gayle's age and fitness along with the inconsistent season. But Gayle put away all such doubts when he was drafted into the Kings XI Punjab unit after going unsold in the initial rounds of the IPL auction.

The explosive batsman came back with a bang in KXIP colours as he went on to score 368 runs in just 11 innings at an average of 40.88, even adding a century to his name that season. Gayle is still going strong in the IPL, which was evident when he scored nearly 500 runs in the competition last season.

The lefthander's success after being released from RCB might have made the franchise management rethink their strategy about player retentions.

5): KL Rahul

KL Rahul
KL Rahul

If you've been an ardent RCB fan, this one would've hurt the most when it happened. It was just before the 2018 IPL mega-auction when RCB announced their list of retained players, which did not happen to include a certain KL Rahul.

The Bengaluru franchise, which already lacks local representation, decided to oust a talent that was being spoken about as the next big thing in Indian cricket after Virat Kohli. As expected, the 2018 IPL auction saw many bidders for Rahul before he was eventually bought by Kings XI Punjab.

To add insult to injury, RCB chose to retain Sarfaraz Khan over Rahul, but the former was released the next year and he too joined the Punjab franchise.

While at RCB, Rahul was primarily a middle-order batsman, despite having shown his prowess at the top of the order. That was because the RCB top-order already comprised big names such as Gayle, De Villiers, and Kohli.

Things changed immediately for Rahul when he was brought in by the Kings XI Punjab and given a free hand at the top of the order.

The stylish right-handed batsman went on to score a mammoth tally of 659 runs at a strike rate of nearly 160. IPL 2019 was again no different for Rahul. He replicated his 2018 heroics for the Punjab franchise, scoring 593 runs in just 14 games. The only difference, if any, between his performances in the two seasons was Rahul had a century to his name in the 2019 edition of the competition.

Rahul was the top scorer for Punjab in both 2018 and 2019. He currently averages 54 while playing for KXIP. Following the sale of Ravichandran Ashwin to the Delhi Capitals, Rahul has now been named the captain of the Kings XI IPL franchise.