RCB’s Chris Gayle on way to his 87 against the Kings XI Punjab in Mohali on Friday. (Gurpreet Singh/HT photo)
Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown, goes the saying. This could be apt for RCB skipper Daniel Vettori. The ace spinner is under huge pressure to retain his place in the playing XI — the one skipper in IPL V who has not really contributed to the team’s victory.
While the performance of Deccan Chargers, and their skipper Kumar Sangakkara, has been quite ordinary, Vettori hasn’t had much role in the seven matches RCB have played so far. His counterparts, Ganguly, Dravid, Harbhajan, Gilchrist, Dhoni, Sehwag and Gambhir have led by example and won games.
Vettori, who has claimed only four wickets for 178 runs in the 27 overs he has bowled so far, is particularly under pressure because the man warming the bench is Sri Lankan ace Muttiah Muralitharan, who has taken eight wickets in just four matches. And, young left-arm spinner KP Appanna took four wickets in the win over the Rajasthan Royals on Monday.
“RCB should bring in Murali in place of Vettori, he has looked far better than his captain,” said Navjot Sidhu before the game against the Royals.
Muralitharan’s variety and skill apart, he also has a psychological edge over his previous team, Chennai Super Kings. In the last game, he took three of the five wickets to fall.
As the teams enter the business end of the tournament, RCB’s recent wins might have covered their weak links, but time seems to be running out for Vettori. “Though it is difficult to drop captains, in this case vice-captain Virat Kohli can certainly do the job for RCB,” said Sunil Gavaskar.
The 33-year-old will remember that the RCB franchise owners had sacked Rahul Dravid as skipper after the team's pathetic show in the inaugural season.