IPL 2020: Rajasthan Royals’ hope to overcome their dependence on the foreign four
Just a look at the Rajasthan Royals’ (RR) squad would be enough to get an idea of the stoic difference between the quality of their overseas and Indian players. A squad, which was once touted as a storehouse for young Indian talent with Shane Warne/Rahul Dravid overseeing things, is now highly dependent on their foreign players.
In Jos Buttler, Steven Smith, Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer, the franchisee probably has the strongest primary options for the four overseas slots, not to mention the three backups which include David Miller, Oshane Thomas and Andrew Tye.
One can grasp the staggering irregularity just by the fact that out of the 17 Indian players in the squad, only five have played international cricket. With Robin Uthappa having played the most (59) international matches, the five players amount to a mere 100 international caps.
The 2019 edition of the league was more or less a disaster for the franchisee, despite many individual stand out performances by the players of the squad. Ajinkya Rahane and Sanju Samson, accounted for two of the five centuries in IPL 2019, both in losing causes. The franchisee would be hoping for the players in their squad to turn up as a unit in this edition of the league. While individual performances are enough to get laurels around the cricketing world, it is clicking as a unit that will get the trophy home.
RR had only managed to win five matches in the last edition, with 3 of them coming after a mid-season captaincy change. Steven Smith, who took over as a captain, had a visibly positive effect on the performance of the team. Smith has been announced as the full-time captain this season.
Rahane, his predecessor, has been traded out of the squad. Ankit Rajpoot and Jaydev Unadkat will face competition for their place in the eleven from Varun Aaron and Kartik Tyagi, the former two being the likely starters.
The biggest bone of contention for the Royals’ would be the uncertainty looming over Stokes’ participation in the IPL. While Buttler is confirmed to miss the first match of IPL as he is in mandatory quarantine in Dubai, Stokes is still in New Zealand and has still not travelled to the UAE.
Probable XI: Jos Buttler, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Sanju Samson (wk), Steven Smith (c), Robin Uthappa, Ben Stokes, Riyan Parag, Shreyas Gopal, Jofra Archer, Jaydev Unadkat, Ankit Rajpoot