Rajasthan Royals finished rock bottom in the 2020 edition and the winners of the inaugural IPL title are looking to take a new direction. Interestingly, it was the first time they finished with the wooden spoon in the league. In 2019, they finished seventh as the past few seasons have not been good for the side. The franchise made the bold call of making Sanju Samson the captain while releasing Steve Smith. Samson’s appointment is a big call for Royals who are searching their second title. The acquisition of Chris Morris for a massive `16.25 crores made headlines during the IPL auctions.
When a team has the likes of Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Samson in their ranks, it can be a daunting task for any opposition. Then there are the likes of David Miller and Rahul Tewatia who can finish off matches for them. Manan Vohra is an experienced campaigner in the IPL and if the likes of Riyan Parag and Yashasvi Jaiswal come good, and new additions like Shivam Dube and Liam Livingstone successfully integrate themselves into the side, the team will have sufficient strength and depth in the batting department.
If batting is their strength, the team’s pace bowling department is where some weaknesses can be found especially in Jofra Archer’s absence. His participation in the tournament is still uncertain, meaning Royals have to redraw their strategy. Andew Tye has a reputation of being a good death-over specailist and the presence of Chris Morris and Mustafizur Rahman gives them options. Young pacer Kartik Tyagi showed a lot of promise but the team will have to be patient with him.
Appointing Samson as the captain of Royals is a massive gamble taken by the franchise. Even though Sanju has been with the team since 2018 and has been playing IPL from 2013, leading an IPL team is a different ball game. Sanju recently lost his place in the Indian team for the T20I series between India and England after a mixed Syed Mushtaq Ali campaign where he captained Kerala. And the focus will not just be on his captaincy but also his batting which has always been a major talking point. Sanju has a point to prove and he couldn’t have asked for a bigger opportunity. The big question is whether he can lead a team full of international stars and deliver them to IPL glory again.
Yashasvi Jaiswal, Manan Vohra, David Miller, Riyan Parag, Liam Livingstone, Mahipal Lomror, Jos Buttler (wk), Anuj Rawat, Sanju Samson (c, wk), Ben Stokes, Shreyas Gopal, Rahul Tewatia, Chris Morris, Jofra Archer, Shivam Dube, Mayank Markande, KC Cariappa, Kartik Tyagi, Chetan Sakariya, Akash Singh, Mustafizur Rahman, Jaydev Unadkat, Andrew Tye, Kuldip Yadav.