Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle and AB De Villiers have been irreplaceable for the Royal Challengers Bangalore over the last few seasons of the Indian Premier League (IPL), so it came as no surprise when the franchise announced they had retained the big three for the upcoming IPL 7.
Kohli skippered the side quite well last season, keeping Daniel Vettori out of the side in the process, with RCB then deciding to keep the experienced New Zealander in their team, but as the new head coach.
Vettori replaces South African Ray Jennings as the coach of RCB and the left-arm spinner will be backed up by South African pace bowling legend Alan Donald, with Trent Woodhill named the batting and bowling coach.
"I am happy and honoured to be retained by RCB and it's great to be back to Bangalore, literally my second home now," Kohli said in a statement. I am looking forward to working closely with Dan Vettori. Bowling Coach Allan Donald's experience will add a lot of value.
"Together with my other retained mates Chris and AB and the rest of the team, I hope to fulfil the faith that RCB and the fans of Bangalore have reposed in me."
Gayle would have been one of the most-sought after players had he been let go by RCB, but the big West Indian decided to stick with the Bangalore franchise as they hunt for their first IPL title.
"Home Again!! I am happy to be retained by RCB and looking forward to the love and affection ... Bangalore, here I come again and let's rock!!!!
AB De Villiers added: "Honoured to be retained by RCB and extremely happy to be staying in Bangalore. RCB and Bangalore has a special place in my heart and I look forward to contributing to the Team's success, come IPL."
Team owner Vijay Mallya will be desperate to bring the IPL crown to Bangalore, having seen this tremendously well-supported franchise underachieve on several seasons in the past.
"This formidable trio of players have contributed significantly to RCB's past performance and are match-winners in their own right," Mallya said. "Their retention means that we have a strong platform to build an exceptional team."
Each IPL team can retain up to five players, with a fixed amount deducted from the franchise's purse if they do so. With RCB, having retained only three players up to now, the team will be Rs 22.5 crore lighter, with player one costing Rs 12.5 crore, while player two and player three will be charged Rs 9.5 crore and Rs 7.5 crore each.
In reality, the likes of Gayle, Kohli and/or De Villiers could be earning a lot more, because, according to the rules, the contracts can be considerably larger, with the amount deducted remaining fixed.
The deadline for retaining players is Friday, 5 pm.