From being crowned as the champions in the first season of the IPL to being banished for two seasons of the tournament, the journey of the Rajasthan Royals has been quite an interesting one.

When Royals return this season, they would be looking forward to salvaging their prestige with a revamped team altogether. Some of the eminent names like Shane Watson, James Faulkner, Tim Southee, Ben Cutting, Karun Nair, Chris Morris and Steve Smith would be missing from their squad this season.

Though the captain of the 2008 champion team, Shane Warne would be lifting up the hopes of Royals through his off-field support, this year the team of Rajasthan does not boast stars by their side.

They would be relying on a bunch of gifted players who might go on to become household names in the coming months and big-hitting capabilities of Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Ajinkya Rahane.

Owner: Manoj Badale

Captain: Ajinkya Rahane

Coach: Shane Warne

As the eleventh edition of the lavish affair of IPL kicks off within a week, let’s have a look at strengths, weaknesses, squad and the probable XI of the Rajasthan Royals:

Strengths:

Royals spent a lot of money at the auctions to avail the services of England all-rounder Ben Stokes and Indian seamer Jaydev Unadkat. Their strength lies in their batting order. The duo of Ajinkya Rahane and Rahul Tripathi will give a strong opening to the team and would be supported by the likes of Butler and Stokes in the middle.

They have also roped in many overseas stars to add the X-factor to the team to their team. Heinrich Klaasen, D’Arcy Short, Jofra Archer might emerge as an asset for the franchise.

Heinrich Klassen shot into fame after showing his clean-hitting capabilities against India in the South Africa series. D’Arcy Short who became the first player to score over 500 runs in a single edition of BBL and the upcoming sensation Jofra Archer, might also make big strides in the IPL this season. The pace unit would be strengthened by Jaydev Unadkat, who had a decent run last season while playing for Rising Pune Supergiants and Dhawal Kulkarni.

Moreover, the team would be banking on the talent of uncapped players and if Ajinkya Rahane succeeds in bringing out the best out of them, who knows the ‘underdogs’ Rajasthan Royals might again repeat their triumph of 2008 in 2018.

Weakness:

Steve Smith’s absence would impact the team. His capacity to fetch runs and his caliber to lead the team from the from the front would be missed.

Rajasthan Royals have not invested much on Indian capped Indians. The franchise retained Ajinkya Rahane via RTM card and bought Jaydev Unadkat for 11.5 crores, and they are the only Indian players who are part of the current Indian team set up.

Apart from the two, the other Indian capped players in the team are Sanju Samson and Dhawal Kulkarni, who are currently not a regular feature of the Indian squad.

With a limit on the number of overseas players a team can play in a match, the franchise will find it difficult to find sutiable options.

The squad also lacks frontline spinners. They have also invested a lot in spinner K Gautham but his lack of experience might be a turbulent factor for the team.

Squad:

Ajinkya Rahane (c), Benjamin Andrew Stokes, Jaydev Unadkat, Sanju Samson, Jofra Archer, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jos Buttler, Darcy Short, Rahul Tripathi, Dhawal Kulkarni, Zahir Khan Pakteen, Ben Laughlin, Stuart Binny, Dushmantha Chameera, Anureet Singh, Aryaman Vikram Birla, Midhun S, Shreyas Gopal, Prashant Chopra, Jatin Saxena, Ankit Sharma, and Mahipal Lomror, Heinrich Klaasen

Playing XI:

Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Tripathi, Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Jos Butler, K Gautam, Jaydev Unadkat, Shreyas Gopal, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jofra Archer, Heinrich Klaasen/D’Arcy Short

Key Stats:

YearRank CaptainTop BowlerTop BatsmanWin %
2008WinnerShane WarneSohail Tanvir (22 Wickets)Shane Watson (472 runs78.57
20096Shane WarneMunaf Patel (16 Wickets)Ravindra Jadeja (295 runs)42.86
20107Shane WarneShane Warne (11 Wickets)Naman Ojha (337 runs)42.86
20116Shane WarneShane Warne (13 Wickets)Rahul Dravid (343 runs)42.86
20127Rahul DravidBrad Hogg (10 Wickets)Ajinkya Rahane (560 runs)43.75
20133Rahul DravidJames Faulkner (28 Wickets)Shane Watson (543 runs)62.5
20145Shane WatsonPravin Tambe (15 Wickets)Ajinkya Rahane (339 runs)50
20154Shane WatsonChris Morris (13 Wickets)Ajinkya Rahane (540 runs)50
2016Suspended
2017Suspended

 

Rajasthan Royals would heavily rely on the brilliance of Ajinkya Rahane and Ben Stokes and face some difficulties due to lack in spin options, but the Royals are expected to give a tough fight to their opponents.

With Royals back to claim their fortress again, no matter what the outcome is, the journey is going to be exciting!

Betting Odds:

Top Run Scorer: Ajinkya Rahane- 5/2

Top Wicket Taker: Jaydev Unadkat- 5/2

Winning Chances: 7