Players Bought, Retained, and Released by Rajasthan Royals
PLAYERS RELEASED BEFORE AUCTION:
Ashton Turner, Oshane Thomas, Shubham Ranjane, Prashant Chopra, Ish Sodhi, Aryaman Birla, Jaydev Unadkat, Rahul Tripathi, Stuart Binny, Liam Livingstone, and Sudheshan Midhun
Mahipal Lomror, Manan Vohra, Riyan Parag, Steve Smith, Robin Uthappa, David Miller, Ankit Rajpoot, Mayank Markande, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Varun Aaron, Jaydev Unadkat, Kartik Tyagi, Akash Singh, Oshane Thomas, Andrew Tye, Ben Stokes, Rahul Tewatia, Shashank Singh, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Anirudha Joshi, Tom Curran, Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson, Anuj Rawat
Rajasthan Royals failed to make the top-four in the IPL 2019, but had plenty of reasons to cheer about, especially when it came to the strength of their international players. Aussie player Steve Smith made a successful return to cricket after his one-year ban, while the form of the English players Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer too would have delighted them. The three helped England win the ICC World Cup this year, which further shows how integral they will be to the success of the franchise in the upcoming years.
With a fixed foreign quartet, the Royals did not have to fiddle with their core much, and approached the IPL auctions with the aim of building a team around the four senior players. This is exactly what panned out as they picked up plenty of young talent, including Mumbai teenage star Yashasvi Jaiswal. The 17-year old has earned plenty of praise for his carefree attitude and his aggressive shot-making. After being in a bidding war with Kolkata Knight Riders, the talented star was picked up by RR, and they have plenty of reasons to believe that they managed to pull off a coup. Kartik Tyagi and Akash Singh are the other young additions in the side.
In the absence of Ajinkya Rahane, the batting order will revolve around the likes of Sanju Samson and youngster Riyan Parag other than the three foreign stars of Smith, Buttler and Stokes. However, the lack of a lower-order hitter was the side’s greatest weakness in 2019, as they failed to close a few important games in the death overs. The decision to part with long-standing servant Rahane, then, was made keeping this in mind, as was the move to pick up David Miller. Though the South African is inconsistent on occasions, he does add some depth to the batting line-up.
Mayank Markande was traded into the team before the IPL 2020 auctions, and he will lend some support to Shreyas Gopal, who had been the only spinner in the past in the team. The Royals team had to turn to Parag to contribute with with his slower deliveries in 2019, and the presence of Markande only strengthens their pool further.
However, the biggest surprise was the bid to buy Jaydev Unadkat yet again. The left-armer has been in the RR set-up for the last two years, going for an exorbitant prices, but has failed to create any sort of impact. The management clearly lacks an Indian fast bowler who could accompany Archer upfront, and while they did manage to pick Andre Tye and Tom Curran, the two are unlikely to be in the XI except for unavailability or injuries. However, picking Unadkat, a campaigner who does not have performances backing him over an exciting and upcoming faster bowler like Ishan Porel is questionable.
Another name that stirs a debate is the selection of Robin Uthappa – yet another top-order player. The 34-year old was released from Kolkata Knight Riders ahead of the auctions after playing a number of slow-paced innings in 2019, which showed the decline of his big-hitting prowess. With Buttler and Samson already capable of donning the wicket-keeping gloves, the reason why Uthappa was picked is unclear as well.
However, the biggest signing for them for IPL 2020 comes not from the auctions. After parting ways with Paddy Upton, the coach for the 2019 season, the RR franchise signed up with Australian Andrew McDonald, one of the most sought after coaches in the Australian circuit. He will pair up with skipper Smith in the edition, and how the two manage to turn around the fortunes of RR will be exciting to witness.
The biggest challenge for the side over the years has been their English core leaving the IPL mid-way for international commitments. However, the trio of Buttler, Stokes and Archer should be available for the whole season in 2020, which will further bolster the side. Even if they do leave midway, the franchise has managed to assemble a balanced squad that has experience and youth, and they can hope to break into the top-four in the next season.