Rajasthan Royals are making their comeback into the IPL fold after serving their two-year suspension levied on them in 2015.
The 2008 IPL winners have been a team that has done consistently well throughout the years in the tournament, especially under the tutelage of Rahul Dravid and Shane Watson. Both of those captains took RR to greater heights and they were the teams to actually give youngsters a chance to make a name for themselves.
Ravindra Jadeja, Yusuf Pathan, Karun Nair, Sanju Samson and many more young guns got their starts in the Rajasthan franchise. Rajasthan Royals were also known for being the most frugal team in the IPL auctions. However, in the IPL 2018 auctions, RR team management shattered that notion and went for some of the most expensive players.
Out of those players, we have chosen 5 players on whom the RR team management will hope to build their new dynasty.
Here are the five Rajasthan Royals players who they will bank upon to take them to the finals:
Jofra Archer, a Barbadian born English cricketer, has made quite a name for himself in the recent edition of the Big Bash League. His antics with both bat and ball in the league have brought him into the world of Indian Premier League.
Bought by the franchise for Rs 7.2 crore, Archer will be performing the role that James Faulkner used to do for them. Archer, who is looking to qualify for the England team, something that will not happen before the 2022-23 season, earned his laurels for both his abilities to bowl over the speed of 135 kmph constantly and for hitting some lusty blows during the end of the innings.
He also left a good impression in the two matches he played in the PSL 2018. Archer will have to deal with the expectations of the Indian fans and perform to justify his expensive tag.
Jaydev Unadkat became the most expensive Indian player sold in the 2018 IPL auction when Rajasthan Royals bought him for Rs 11.5 crore. Unadkat shined for Rising Pune Supergiant in IPL 2017, as he picked up a hat-trick and a five-wicket haul, as his bowling helped the team reach the finals of the tournament.
Unadkat has come a long way from the wiry 19-year-old, who made his debut for India in 2010. He has become wilier and has added a lot more pace in his bowling. In 93 T20 matches, Unadkat has picked up 120 wickets with a best of 5/25.
Unadkat will be the main bowler for Rajasthan Royals in the upcoming season of IPL and things will depend a lot on him.
Steve Smith was the only player to be retained by the RR franchise for Rs 12 crore and was also named as captain of the team. Smith was bought by RR in 2014 IPL auctions and became captain of the team in the second half of IPL 2015.
Smith was very successful last IPL season in 2017, as he led the RPS team to the finals of the tournament, against MI. He has a stellar record in IPL with 1703 runs in 69 matches. Smith will also be responsible for getting back the glory of the Rajasthan Royal, to where it was prior to the suspension.
Ajinkya Rahane has broken every notion that technically proficient batsmen are not suited for the slam-bang style of T20 cricket.
Rahane has scored 3057 runs in 111 IPL matches with the highest score of 103*. Though his strike rate is 120.59, Rahane usually anchors the innings and others play around him. Rahane also makes use of the power play overs well by hitting boundaries.
Retained using the RTM card for Rs 4 crore, Rahane will form the core of the team for RR along with Smith, Samson, Kulkarni, and Binny. Rahane will also help Smith with the leadership duties and open the innings as well.
Rajasthan Royals hit a home run when they outbid every other franchise in the IPL 2018 and bought the hottest player on the list in Ben Stokes, for Rs 12.5 crore.
Stokes was the most valuable player in the IPL 2017, thanks to his century and bowling antics for the RPS franchise. RPS reached the finals and it was all because of Ben Stokes’ abilities. With ECB granting him an all-access pass for the IPL 2018; Stokes will be available (subject to his court case) for the whole IPL.
Stokes has the ability to change the game with both bat and ball and is in the league of match winners like Andrew Flintoff and Kieron Pollard. He can play the waiting game, can blast off and has the ability to pick wickets at any point of the game and turn the tide in his team’s favor.
RR will definitely hope for Ben Stokes to do an encore of his IPL 2017 performance.
By Jatin Sharma