To call Rajasthan Royals mainly a finished product of youth and youngsters wouldn’t be wrong. In the year 2008, the Shane Warne – led side had several young faces, whose names had hardly been heard of at the international level. However, by the end of the tournament, those boys who played a decisive role in shaping their title victory had become household names.
The captaincy and the mentoring of Shane Warne brought the best out of the likes of Ravindra Jadeja, Shane Watson, Sohail Tanveer, Swapnil Asnodkar, Munaf Patel, Yusuf Pathan. Not many expected Rajasthan’s youthful team to upstage many experienced sides, consisting of plenty of internationally proven stars.
Nevertheless, since their victory in the inaugural edition of the tournament, they haven’t put performances well enough to carry them to another title victory. The Jaipur-based franchise did make it to the playoffs in the sixth, eighth, and the eleventh season. However, for the major part of history, they have either been languishing at the bottom of the table or oscillating in the middle. In the previous season, the Men in Pink finished seventh on the points table.
It had a lot to do with Ajinkya Rahane being the captain and his form with the bat. The think-tank took the step of giving the leadership duties to Steve Smith in the second half, and it paid off handsomely well as they won three out of five games under his reign.
Sadly, by that time, too much damage had already been done to reverse it. Ahead of the upcoming season, they have not only carried out several releases but also installed a new coach to change their fortunes. The auction set to be conducted on the 19th of December hands them the chance to make some smart and astute buys in a bid to repeat their 2008 effort.
Here are the five players which Rajasthan Royals can target:
Few players in the IPL have enjoyed a debut as great as Alzarri Joseph. The 23-year old accounted for six wickets on his debut against Sunrisers Hyderabad for Mumbai Indians in the previous season. Joseph accounted for these six scalps at the cost of 12 runs in just 3.4 overs, eclipsing the record of Sohail Tanvir (4-014-6), set by him in the first edition of the tournament.
Unfortunately, the West Indian featured in only two more matches before dislocating his shoulder that finished his stint that year. Ahead of the forthcoming reason, defending champions, Mumbai Indians decided to let go of him, considering the staggering amount of quality pacers they have in their ranks.
Rajasthan Royals could seize this opportunity by roping him in to get Jofra Archer and Alzarri Joseph bowling in tandem. This new-ball bowling pair, hailing from the same nation, with their unrelenting speed and the knack of taking wickets, can make life very difficult for batsmen. If the Antiguan pacer can maintain the required fitness level throughout the competitive tournament, he may be unstoppable. Alzarri Joseph has set his base price as INR 50 lakh.
James Neesham has seen it all in 2019. He has been part of two super-overs against England in an ODI and a T20. From the brink of retirement, the all-rounder made a thundering international comeback and almost gave New Zealand the biggest price in the ODI arena.
The start of 2019 marked James Neesham’s comeback to national colours after almost two years. Since then, along with Colin de Grandhomme, Neesham has been an indispensable part of the Blackcaps’ limited-overs set up. With that trick of getting crucial breakthroughs in the middle of the innings through his ‘dibbly-dobbly’ bowling and a reputation to strike monstrous hits, the 29-year old can be a trump card for any side.
With Ben Stokes not living up to the hype since the last couple of seasons, the Kiwi all-rounder is adept enough to fill the all-rounder’s spot. The Auckland-born would indeed be one of the players who can cause severe bidding wars among the franchises. The southpaw has set his base price at INR 50 lakh.
Like Nathan Lyon in Tests, Adam Zampa has become the go-to spinner for Australia in recent times when it comes to limited-overs cricket. The leggie had been one of the shining lights in Pune’s disappointing campaign in the year 2016. In five matches that season, Zampa finished with 12 wickets at an average of 9.58, including figures of 6/19 against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The 27-year old suffered a minor blip, sustaining a mediocre 50-over World Cup campaign, contrary to the expectations. However, he bounced back in the T20 series against Sri Lanka at home by snapping five scalps in three games. Not only this, but Zampa also managed to trouble the Indian batsmen in their limited-overs series early this year.
With Rajasthan possessing only one credible leg-spinner in Shreyas Gopal, Adam Zampa can bolster the department by joining their ranks. The 27-year old has a liking to Indian conditions and is capable of extracting considerable turn from the dry conditions. The leggie has set his base price at a whopping INR 1.5 crores.
There have been several inspiring stories in the game of cricket, and then there emerged Yashasvi Jaiswal, who used to sell pani puris in the streets of Mumbai. He made it to the headlines by hammering a double-hundred (203 off 154 balls) in the Vijay Hazare Trophy for Mumbai against Jharkhand. At a young age of 17, before his double-hundred, he had scores of 44, 113, 22, 122.
This is not it. Yashasvi Jaiswal topped the run-scoring charts in the ACC U19 Asia Cup of 2018 by scoring 318 runs as India lifted that trophy. With rapid strides in such a short career, one cannot imagine the extent of impact he can make in the T20 league. Currently, the teenager’s List A average stands at a staggering 70.81.
The men in pink have lost Ajinkya Rahne to Delhi Capitals and capturing Jaiswal to partner him along with Jos Buttler at the top would be a masterstroke. His base price of INR 20 lakh makes him a bargain buy. Without a doubt, the southpaw could be one of the costliest Indian players this time.
R Sai Kishore
Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore played merely as a net bowler for Chennai Super Kings, getting belted by their captain MS Dhoni. He went back to the drawing board, worked with Harbhajan Singh and came out as a much better bowler.
The Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy saw the reemergence of R Sai Kishore and finishing as the highest wicket-taker. Featuring for Tamil Nadu, the 23-year old ended up with 20 wickets in only 12 games in the entire tournament at an average of 10.40. Sai Kishore was also part of Tamil Nadu‘s squad that went on to lift the Deodhar Trophy in 2016-17, taking nine wickets in three games.
The left-arm bowler can join the likes of Shreyas Gopal and Adam Zampa to transform the Rajasthan Royals as one of the teams having the strongest spin-bowling attacks. The uncapped player has placed his base price at a modest INR 20 lakh.
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