The 14th edition of the Indian Premier League is upon us and all eight teams have started their preparations at full tilt for the same ahead of the summer’s biggest cricket carnival. The tournament returns to India after a year in the United Arab Emirates because of the coronavirus pandemic but will only be played across six venues.
Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore will host just the league games while Ahmedabad will get to host the playoffs and final as well at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
The teams have let go of some of their underperforming players and added some new faces as well from the IPL 2021 auction in the hope to end Mumbai Indians‘ dominance and win the title.
Rajasthan parted ways with Steve Smith and also let go of Ankit Rajpoot, Oshane Thomas, Varun Aaron and Tom Curran among big names and bought the likes of Shivam Dube (Rs 4.40 crore), Chris Morris (Rs 16.25 crore), Mustafizur Rahman (Rs 1.00 crore), Chetan Sakariya (Rs 1.20 crore), KC Cariappa (Rs 0.20 crore), Liam Livingstone (Rs 0.75 crore), Kuldip Yadav (Rs 0.20 crore) and Akash Singh (Rs 0.20 crore) to complete their squad.
Here we take a look at Rajasthan Royals‘ full squad and the type of players they have following the auction in February.
Sanju Samson (C), Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler, Riyan Parag, Shreyas Gopal, Rahul Tewatia, Mahipal Lomror, Kartik Tyagi, Andrew Tye, Jaydev Unadkat, Mayank Markande, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Anuj Rawat, David Miller, Manan Vohra, Christopher Morris, Shivam Dube, Chetan Sakariya, Mustafizur Rahman, Liam Livingstone, K.C. Cariappa, Akash Singh, Kuldip Yadav.
Yashasvi Jaiswal, Liam Livingstone, David Miller, Manan Vohra, Riyan Parag, Akash Singh
Ben Stokes, Shreyas Gopal, Mahipal Lomror, Christopher Morris, Shivam Dube
Jofra Archer, Rahul Tewatia, Mayank Markande, Kartik Tyagi, Andrew Tye, Jaydev Unadkat, Chetan Sakariya, Mustafizur Rahman, K.C. Cariappa, Kuldip Yadav
Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson, Anuj Rawat
Kumar Sangakkara (Director of cricket), Andrew McDonald (Head coach), Amol Muzumdar (Batting coach), Sairaj Bahutule (Spin bowling coach), Rob Cassell (Pace bowling coach), Dishant Yagnik (Fielding coach)
The Royals finished at the bottom place last year with 12 points from 14 games in the UAE and couldn’t perform consistently and will look to correct the wrongs this year. However, their chances heavily depend on the likes of the English trio if Buttler, Stokes and Archer performing along with new captain Samson and big-money buy Morris. If the above players have a bad game together, RR will really struggle to get over the line.
Two areas that may concern the Royals are a lack of a finger spinner and a young Indian pace line-up barring the ever-present Jaydev Unadkat. The 2008 champions have the likes of Markande, Tewatia, Gopal and Cariappa in their line-up as spinners but all of them are wrist spinners and a lack of option could be an issue going forward.
As of the pace attack, Archer’s availability is under some cloud as he is recovering from surgery and also has some elbow issues. If Archer becomes unavailable, a lot of pressure will be there on Morris and Unadkat, who hasn’t been quite at the top of his game over the last season or two. The only other experienced option they have other than that is Bangladesh’s Mustafizur Rahman, who is again no longer the bowler he used to be in his earlier days and is often quite expensive.
The Royals will play their first game of the season on April 12 against Punjab Kings at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.