Where they finished in 2020Fourth on the points table and fourth overall, losing in the Eliminator to the Sunrisers Hyderabad. This was the first time the team had made the playoffs since 2016.
Potential XI1 Devdutt Padikkal, 2 Virat Kohli (capt), 3 AB de Villiers, 4 Glenn Maxwell, 5 Mohammed Azharuddeen (wk), 6 Dan Christian, 7 Kyle Jamieson, 8 Washington Sundar, 9 Mohammed Siraj, 10 Navdeep Saini, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal
BattingIt's IPL 2021 but the Royal Challengers Bangalore story still seems to be one that stars Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, and hopes that the supporting cast will step up. If both Kohli and de Villiers have middling IPLs - it's unlikely to happen but it's a useful thought experiment to gauge batting strength - it leaves the team looking fairly uncertain. Glenn Maxwell, of course, could turn up and snatch games away on his own, but he remains an enigma in the IPL. He's got the talent, the nous and the performances all over the world, but he's somehow not clicked in true Maxwell style in the IPL apart from a couple of seasons.
BowlingThe Royal Challengers let go of Chris Morris, whom they had bought for INR 10 crore, but went up as high as 9.75 crore while bidding for him at the 2021 auctions. If letting Morris go was a puzzling decision at the outset, being prepared to shell out almost the same amount to buy him back was even more baffling.
Young player to watch out forFinn Allen was picked up as a replacement for Josh Philippe before he had even made his New Zealand debut. A top-order batsman who can keep wickets too, Allen was a like-for-like replacement for Philippe in terms of roles, but given the initial promise he has shown, the Royal Challengers might have just found an upgrade. He had a bumper Super Smash 2020-21, smashing a chart-topping 512 runs at a strike-rate of almost 194 to power the Firebirds to the title. Then, in his third T20I, he uncorked a 29-ball 71 against Bangladesh, reaching his half-century off just 18 balls. Allen, who will turn 22 during the second week of the IPL, might not make the starting XI immediately for the Royal Challengers, but he's likely to get a few games as the tournament goes on.
Coaching staffMike Hesson (director of cricket operations), Simon Katich (head coach), Adam Griffith (bowling coach), S Sriram (batting and spin bowling coach), Sanjay Bangar (batting consultant), Shanker Basu (strength and conditioning coach), Evan Speechly (physiotherapist)
Saurabh Somani is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo