Hyderabad: Rajasthan Royals, considered rank outsiders but went on to win the 2008 inaugural edition of the cash-rich Indian Premier League, have endured a rather tough journey so far. The first-edition winners never came close for an encore since the first season of the cash-rich league.
They managed to enter playoffs on just three occasions while they were scrapped for two seasons owing to the betting chargers by the owners in 2016 and 17. Royals were once the team that took a lot of pride in domestic talent. However, over the time, they went on to become a team that is more dependent on overseas players.
Now, Royal’s core team comprises most of these foreign players. Having finished seventh in the last season, they let go of 11 players ahead of the 2020 auctions. However, they bought back Jaydev Unadkat and Oshane Thomas. The major worry for the Royals will be the availability of Ben Stokes, who is currently the best all-rounder around. He left in the middle of England’s Test series to attend his ailing father in New Zealand.
Given that he had completed quarantine recently, he is likely to spend some time with his family. As of now, there is no clarity on his availability. Even if he chooses to participate in the league, he is likely to miss the first half of the tournament.
Steve Smith is bestowed with captaincy again and he will be crucial to their campaign. The presence of Jos Buttler provides good batting stability to the Jaipur-based side. In addition, they also roped in South Africa’s David Miller and Robin Uthappa, who was with Kolkata Knight Riders for the last few years, to add fire power at the top. But Miller’s waning form could be a worrying factor that can force the South African southpaw to warm the bench for the most part.
In Sanju Samson, they have a dashing batsman. But the bulk of the scoring must be done by Buttler and Smith if they have to fare well. Youngsters like Yashaswi Jaiswal, Akash Singh and Kartik Tyagi, all part of India’s Under-19 World Cup campaign, may get a look in at one or the other point in the tournament.
The presence of the likes of Jofra Archer can intimidate any opposition. The likes of Unadkat, Oshane Thomas, Andrew Tye, Tom Curran, Ankit Rajpoot and Varun Aaron give them a lot of fast bowling options and also a bit of selection dilemma. Shreyas Gopal proved his abilities in the past with his effective tweakers and Mayank Markande can play a big role on slow UAE pitches.
It all depends on how the Royals start their campaign in the first few games where the services of England and Australian players will be missed owing to their bilateral series that is being held in England. The players will land in UAE only after 16th of September. But the good thing is Royal’s first match is not until September 22.
Now you can get handpicked stories from Telangana Today on Telegram everyday. Click the link to subscribe.