Silently making their mark in the tournament after their two-year suspension, the Rajasthan Royals had made it to the playoffs with high profile buys in the auction. With Steve Smith returning back to the franchise, Royals would hope to bring back the glory days.
There is a different aura to the Jaipur based franchise ahead of the upcoming season. Having changed their jersey from the deep royal shades of blue to the city’s trademark pink, the franchise hopes to notch up their level.
After finishing fourth last time around, the side decided to release several players which included D’Arcy Short, Heinrich Klassen, and Ben Laughlin. These players failed to live up to the hype which is why the Royals opted for replacements in the auction.
The auction saw the winners from the first edition of the tournament make a move for bowlers. Royals broke the bank yet again to land Jaydev Unadkat for a hefty sum while also roping in young pace sensation Oshane Thomas and overseas spinners Liam Livingstone and Ashton Turner.
As far as the batting order has been concerned, the Royals are pretty much settled with the form being the only concern. The ploy to promote Jos Buttler to open the innings worked wonders for the side last time around, the recklessness of the wicket-keeper batsman blends well with the old school style of Ajinkya Rahane.he side also signed Manan Vohra as a back-up opener.
The presence of Sanju Samson and Rahul Tripathi along with Ben Stokes makes a decent middle order with pyrotechnics in the form of Krishnappa Gowtham and Joffra Archer down the order.
While the spin duo does not seem strong on paper, the Karnataka native duo of Krishnappa Gowtham and Shreyas Gopal strangled the batsman with Ish Sodhi providing support.
The major concern for the side ahead of the tournament is the glaring lack of depth in the squad. Rajasthan Royals will have to bank upon the young talent they possess in the background in time of crisis.
Yet another potential weakness in the side is their over-dependence on the overseas players. The side faced suffered immensely during Ben Stokes’ rough patch last time around.
The World Cup proves to be a huge obstacle in the path for Royals as the big names will be drawn away as part of the national team preparations.
The Royals will play at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur, a ground which they have established as a formidable fortress over the years.
We’ll have to wait and see if a change in jersey will change fortunes for the Rajasthan Royals who have spent their majority in the shadows of mediocrity.
Jos Buttler (wk), Ajinkya Rahane(c), Steve Smith, Sanju Samson, Rahul Tripathi, Ben Stokes, Krishnappa Gowtham, Joffra Archer, Jaydev Unadkat, Shreyas Gopal, Dhawal Kulkarni