Rajasthan Royals, the champions of the inaugural edition of the IPL in 2008, have not been able to win their second trophy in the last 13 seasons. While the Royals have boasted of some star players in their ranks over the last few years, the trophy has continued to elude them. They have not even been able to make it to any of the finals after the first season.
Ahead of the mega auction in February, the Royals retained their captain Sanju Samson, opening batsman Jos Buttler and uncapped Indian player Yashasvi Jaiswal. Samson has been their standout batsman for the last few years, while Jos Buttler brings plenty of international experience with him. Under 19 World Cup hero Jaiswal was retained after he impressed as an opener in IPL 2021.
At the end of the two-day bidding affair, the Royals bought 21 players. Some of the big names they bought are Yuzvendra Chahal, Devdutt Padikkal, Navdeep Saini, Trent Boult, Prasidh Krishna and Daryl Mitchell. Krishna was the team’s costliest pick at Rs 10 crores.
After a poor 2021 season, in which they finished seventh, the Royals will be banking upon their new members to put up better performances in the 2022 season. A super-strong squad this season could turn their fortunes for the better.
Jos Buttler, Devdutt Padikkal, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Sanju Samson, Shimron Hetmyer, Riyan Parag, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Prasidh Krishna, Trent Boult, KC Cariappa, Navdeep Saini, Shubham Garhwal, Anunay Singh, Kuldeep Sen, Karun Nair, Dhruv Jurel, Tejas Baroka, Kuldip Yadav, Varun Aaron, Jimmy Neesham, Rassie van der Dussen, Obed McCoy
The greatest strength of the Rajasthan Royals lies in their batting depth. It will be interesting to see who opens the batting with Buttler. It will be either Jaiswal or Padikkal, two uncapped players who have impressed as an opener. Padikkal, especially, gave quite a few solid starts to RCB.
At number 3 they have Sanju Samson, who was the side’s lone warrior last season. Samson scored 484 runs at an average of 40.33 and strike rate of 136.72.
The middle order is also pretty well equipped. The likes of Shimron Hetmyer, Riyan Parag and Rassie van der Dussen can churn out substantial knocks in the middle overs.
Additionally, the team’s bowling department also looks strong on paper. They have three spinners in Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal and KC Cariappa. Little needs to be told of Ashwin and Chahal, but mystery bowler Cariappa could take some time to get going. While Cariappa has been a part of the IPL for several years, he has mostly been seen on the bench instead of on the field.
The fast bowling department looks even stronger – it will be spearheaded by Trent Boult, while the likes of Prasidh Krishna, Navdeep Saini and Daryl Mitchell can also bowl fearsome spells. Boult was a match-winning bowler for the Mumbai Indians for several years.
As aforementioned, the Rajasthan Royals have most of their bases covered. However, one area of concern that comes to mind is a match-winning all-rounder. They have James Neesham, but we haven’t seen him deliver many match-winning performances in the tournament. Riyan Parag is another option they have, but he averaged only 11.62 last year and managed only a solitary wicket. Ravi Ashwin is another all-rounder in the Royals’ rank, but we have not seen the star bowler do well with the bat in the IPL.
Predicted playing XI – Jos Buttler, Devdutt Padikkal, Sanju Samson, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shimron Hetmyer, Riyan Parag, R Ashwin, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Trent Boult, Yuzvendra Chahal, Prasidh Krishna