IPL 2018 player retention: Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers stay at RCB; Sarfaraz Khan a surprise retentionhttps://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket/royal-challengers-bangalore-rcb-retain-virat-kohli-ab-de-villiers-sarfaraz-khan-5011507/

IPL 2018 player retention: Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers stay at RCB; Sarfaraz Khan a surprise retention

While Virat Kohli and Ab de Villiers looked predictable choices, the retention of uncapped player Sarfaraz Khan came as a surprise.

Royal Challengers Bangalore have retained AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli and Sarfaraz Khan for IPL 2018.

With Indian captain Virat Kohli in red-hot form these days, it was quite obvious that he would be the first choice for IPL team Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). During the IPL 2018 player retention event, RCB announced that he would remain with the side for the upcoming season of Indian Premier League.

Kohli, who has been with the side since the first tournament in 2008, has scored 4,418 runs in 141 innings and has scored four centuries in IPL. He has captained the side for past 4 seasons and it is most likely he will lead them again in this season.

Apart from Kohli, RCB announced that they will also be retaining the services of explosive batsman AB de Villiers and uncapped Indian player Sarfaraz Khan. While Kohli and De Villiers’ retention appeared to be predictable, Sarfaraz Khan’s name came as a surprise.

De Villiers is an experienced campaigner in the format and has taken RCB to several victories with his explosive batting. In 118 innings, De Villiers has scored 3,473 runs at an average of 38.16 and has scored three tons in the tournament. He enjoys a massive strike of 148.17 in IPL and on his day, can destroy any bowling attack.

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Khan on the other hand is still establishing himself as a player. In 12 innings, he has scored 177 runs at an average of 29.5. But his retention is a smart choice by RCB as they can have a heavier purse for themselves for the main auctions that will take place on January 27- January 28, because the price of retaining an uncapped player is just Rs 3 crore. Sarfaraz, who enjoys a strike rate of 173.53 in IPL, gives RCB a hard-hitting batsman lower down the middle order, and he can prove to be a match-winner for his side. He was injured last season, didn’t play Ranji Trophy for Uttar Pradesh this year and would like to make a mark in the domestic T20 competition which precedes the auction.

With RCB using their all three retention options, they can now only retain two more players using Right-To-Match (RTM) card option during the main auctions. With all their retention being batsmen, it is likely they might bring back a bowler, with spinner Yuzvendra Chahal being one of the selections who might come back to the side, as they still have the choice of retaining two capped Indian players.

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