A lot was on stake when a tournament called Indian Premier League was introduced back in 2008. Out of 8 teams, Rajasthan Royals was the only side to have a coach and captain in just one man – the legendary Shane Warne. And the spin wizard made league a massive success by leading his team to title victory in the inaugural season.
Fourteen years later, the franchise has revamped itself for the IPL 2022 but they will miss their former coach and icon Warne who unfortunately passed away earlier on March 4. But as they say, ‘the show must go on’, the Royals are prepping for another intense season with some big guns in the side.
After retaining Skipper Sanju Samson (Rs 14 crore), Jos Buttler (Rs 10 crore) and Yashaswi Jaiswal (Rs 4 crore), the Royals entered the mega auctions with remaining amount of Rs 62 Crores. Following a number of bidding wars and rapid auctions, the franchise bought star Indian spinners Yuzvendra Chahal (Rs 6.50 crore) and Ravichandran Ashwin (Rs 5 crore). Karnataka’s batting sensation Devdutt Padikkal was brought on board for Rs 7.75 crore while Riyan Parag was back in the hut with a price tag of Rs 3.80 crore.
Pacer Prasidh Krishna bagged the highest bid of Rs 10 crore, followed by Shimron Hetmyer and Trent Boult shelling out Rs 8.50 crore and Rs 8 crore, respectively. Australia’s Nathan Coulter-Nile was bought for his base price Rs 2 crore.
Here’s the full Rajasthan Royals squad:
Sanju Samson (c), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Jos Buttler, Ravichandran Ashwin, Trent Boult, Devdutt Padikkal, Shimron Hetmyer, Prasidh Krishna, Yuzvendra Chahal, Riyan Parag, KC Cariappa, Navdeep Saini, Obed McCoy, Anunay Singh, Kuldeep Sen, Karun Nair, Dhruv Jurel, Tejas Baroka, Kuldip Yadav, Shubham Garhwal, James Neesham, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Rassie van der Dussen, Daryl Mitchell
The batting Unit
Rajasthan’s batting line-up is studded with stars of modern-day cricket. Englishman Jos Buttler would happily pair with either Yashasvi or Devdutt to provide fiery starts whenever the team take the field.
Captain Sanju Samson is a proven option for No. 3 slot and his exploits makes him the most-reliable player at this spot. He has proven his mettle in the past and now he has the command of this unit in his hands.
As far as the middle order is concerned, the Royals have plenty to choose from. The list starts with Shimron Hetmyer who has done wonders for Delhi Capitals in past seasons. He is a trusted player and a phenomenal striker of the ball to go with. Among the overseas lot, there is South Africa’s Rassie van der Dussen who can step in anytime to provide the finishing touch.
The other Indian names in the list are a bigger but consistency is the area they need to work at. All-rounder Riyan Parag and triple-centurion Karun Nair. Lack of game time could be one possible reason behind their lack of runs but they need to be ready as an opportunity can knock at their door anytime.
Spinners and Pacers – The bowlers’ arena
The bowling of Rajasthan Royals also seems to covering almost all bases. In the spin department, Ashwin takes the leash with Yuzvendra Chahal alongside. The side also has a leg-spinner from Coorg, KC Cariappa who has been around the league for several years now. From the uncapped lot, RR also options in Dhruv Jurel and Shubham Garhwal.
Then come the fast-bowling unit and the face of this department is Trent Boult. After teaming up with Jasprit Bumrah in past years, he is set to start afresh as the leader of the pace-attack. He will be backed by the likes of Prasidh, Navdeep Saini, national colleague Daryl Mitchell and his MI teammate Nathan Coulter-Nile. The likes of Obed McCoy and Kuldip Yadav would also chip in as back-ups. All of them will excel under the watchful eyes of Sri Lankan pace great Lasith Malinga, the fast-bowling coach of the team.
Weaknesses if any
The team looks pretty balanced but it happens to lack a dependable all-rounder. James Neesham is there but he hasn’t lived upto the expectation in the past editions. He happens to posses some big hitting qualities but cannot be relied upon for a finisher’s role.
Considering Riyan Parag and Ashwin, the former has won games in a couple of games in 2020 but last year, he lacked a good form on most occasions. Ashwin is a class player but hasn’t fired much with the bat in hand in the shortest format of the game.