Written by: Bhawana Jarwal
Rajasthan Royals has a rich legacy in the Indian Premier League, greats have been part of this team, won the IPL title in the inaugural edition, entered into the final of Champions League but in the last few seasons it has been underwhelming performance by RR as a group with injuries, unavailability of the players and not to forget the team going through a transition phase as well by appointing Sanju Samson as the captain ahead of IPL 2021.
Rajasthan Royals has formed a solid core for this season, first, they retained Samson, Buttler, Jaiswal and then brought in some experienced players like Chahal & Ashwin in the spin department, Hetmyer & Van Der Dussen in middle order, Boult, Prasidh and Saini in the fast bowling arena along with youngsters like Padikkal and in addendum to this Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Obed McCoy as solid backup options from overseas accompanied by Karun Nair, KC Cariappa, Kuldeep Sen, Kuldip Yadav, Dhurv Jurel as Indian backups in the mix.
Rajasthan Royals is entering with high hopes this season consequent to praise worthy work in the auction, so here is the likely playing XI for the season:
Buttler is one of the best openers going around the T20 format, he has been part of the Royals camp since 2018, since then he has been an integral batter of the Royals setup. His best performance came in 2018 when he scored 548 runs at an average of 54.80 and a healthy strike rate of 155.24.
He is backed by a memorable World Cup in UAE in 2021 being the leading run-scorer for England and also being the second Royals’ player retained before the auction. His opening partner will be the very young Yashaswi Jaiswal, both had good memories with some good starts in the last season. Buttler being available for the whole season is another positive for the pink city side.
Jaiswal is one of the highly rated youngsters in Indian domestic cricket circuit; he is from the 2020 U-19 batch where he scored 400 runs in 6 matches before the World Cup. Yashaswi, Mumbai batter was picked by Rajasthan Royals in the auction.
He didn’t get much opportunity in the year 2020, just played 3 matches but showed some glimpses of what he can do in future and the very next year, he played 10 matches with improved game, he scored 249 runs including a fifty. Rajasthan has shown great trust in the youngster and he was one of the players retained before the mega auction.
Padikkal was part of the RCB setup for the last 3 years, he has been scoring consistently and giving a steady start to the franchise, ahead of IPL 2022, Rajasthan Royals got him in the mega auction for 7.75 crores. He will be batting at number 3, a new role for him in the IPL set up, he can take down the spinners and that might be the primary role for Dev in his first season with Rajasthan Royals.
In the consecutive 2020 and 2021 IPL seasons, Dev scored more than 400 runs each with 6 fifties and a sole hundred in 29 games.
Captain will be playing a different role this season, carrying the middle order on his shoulders, batting at no. 4. Samson has been really consistent in the last few seasons, taking Rajasthan into commendable positions and leading the team with confidence and determination in the last season.
The best season (in terms of runs) of Sanju Samson came in 2021, when he scored 484 runs at an average of 40.33 and strike rate of 136.72.
Hetmyer has played as number 5 batter on most occasions in the last 2 seasons, one of the reasons why teams went hard at him in the auction and Rajasthan needed that as well with always been a top-heavy side. The inclusion of Hetmyer will release the pressure of Buttler and Jaiswal as well.
Hetmyer scored 242 runs at an average of 34.57 and strike rate of 168.06 in IPL 2021. Sanju and Hetmyer combo will be one to watch out for in this season.
Riyan is one of the highly rated youngsters in the middle order in domestic circuit. Rajasthan has shown lots of trust in Riyan, one of the reasons why he has been bought back through the mega auction, he has got that touch and class to play in pressure situations and more than a handy part time option in any set up. He will be feeling more in comfort zone this time with the addition of Hetmyer in the middle order.
Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzi Chahal:
Spin department has always been a weak link for Rajasthan Royals for many years after Warne left, they tried many a bowlers but no one was attacking the batters and had the ability to take wickets in the middle overs period but in this mega auction, Rajasthan brought in two high quality Indian spinners with Chahal and Ashwin, both are proven match winners for their previous franchises that they have played. This duo will give lots of flexibility for Sanju as a captain specially both can be used at any stage for the innings and with tons of experience. The combo of an off spinner and leg spinner itself becomes a versatile duo for the team along with their experience of being the two best spinners of Indian team.
The Kiwi pacer will be the leader of Rajasthan pace battery, he is one of the most improved bowlers in the T20 format. Joining the Mumbai Indians in 2019 has helped Boult become a better T20 bowler.
In 2020 – 25 wickets at an economy rate of 7.97;
In 2021 – 13 wickets at an economy rate of 7.91.
One of the challenges Boult is going to face will be the inexperience factor in the Rajasthan fast bowling unit in this league and the team will be looking for more powerplay wickets from Boult this season.
Prasidh Krishna was one of the most expensive buys in IPL 2022, recently he has been one of the best bowlers for India in the ODI format and will be looking to continue the run in IPL colors as well which he has mostly failed to do with Kolkata knight Riders. The experience of bowling with Boult, Ashwin, Chahal will help him a lot in next few seasons and as Malinga has been roped in as bowling coach, it will let him improve as a T20 bowler in the coming months.
Rajasthan Royals will have a big headache while selecting the number 7 option as they have got Daryll Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Nathan Coulter-Nile – if they go with Neesham, bowling aspect will become tender and if they pick Coulter Nile, batting aspect will be weakened. It’s a tough choice to make which can be made on match to match basis as per the opposition teams’ conditions and pitch conditions as well but still I would go with Coulter Nile to release pressure from Boult and Prasidh in the death overs.
Complete List of Odds of all IPL Teams
Mumbai Indians – 5.50
Delhi Capitals – 6.00
Chennai Super Kings – 7.00
Royal Challengers Bangalore – 8.00
Punjab Kings – 8.00
Kolkata Knight Riders – 9.00
Rajasthan Royals – 10.00
Lucknow Super Giants – 11.00
Gujarat Titans – 13.00
Sunrisers Hyderabad – 21.00