Let us take a look at the Rajasthan Royals squad, strengths, weaknesses and their key players.
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.
IPL only allows to play four non-Indian players in a team out of the playing eleven and Rajasthan Royals have the perfect four. The likes of Jos Buttler, Steve Smith, Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer from England and Australia are true match-winners and this Ashes group will be the RR’s key players.
The problem will arise when one of them gets injured during the season, as RR does not have any proper back-up players.
Rajasthan Royals have the most pacers in the IPL this year with as many as eight pace options. Since the IPL is played in UAE this season, these pacers can make a difference for their team. They will have to hit the deck hard on the sluggish pitches of the UAE, which can cause some trouble for the batsmen.
Experience always plays a factor and RR seems to be out of that. The Royals released Ajinkya Rahane and bought Robin Uthappa, who is the only Indian player in the squad who has some experience playing at the highest level. All the other Indian players lack the experience factor and are youngsters who will now have to take the responsibilities on their own now.
Playing the Indian Premier League without any senior Indian players might be a challenge for Rajasthan. Other than Robin Uthappa, Varon Aaron and Jaydev Unadkat are the players who have played a few matches for India a long time ago. Currently, the Royals have no Indian capped player.
Another weakness is their spinners. They do not have any experienced or top-level spinners in their squad. Having zero foreign spinners and not buying any proper Indian spinning options can worry them later.
The spin department will be mainly dependent on Shreyas Gopal and Mayank Markande, both of whom will not be the biggest trouble for the batsmen. Along with this, the RR have bought not one, not two, not three but four leg spinners to their side.
The other variety in the spin department is of the left-arm spinner Mahipal Lomror and the part-timer Riyan Parag’s off-spin. Releasing Krishnappa Gowtham seems to have backfired for them now, they can only hope these young guns do the job for them.
1. Jos Buttler
2. Ben Stokes
3. Steve Smith
4. Jofra Archer
5. Sanju Samson