IPL 2022: Rajasthan Royals should pose a tough challenge
A trophy this year, or at the very least a berth in the final, would be a nice way in which Rajasthan Royals can pay tribute to the late Shane Warne, their first, and only title-winning, captain.
Since then the Royals have only three playoffs berths to showcase.
“We’re building a team to win the championship, it’s as simple as that,” Royals CEO Jack Lush McCrum said after the mega auction. Whether they can do it is debateable but they should pose a tough challenge.
The Sanju Samson-led franchise possesses a strong top order and one of the best spin combinations in Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal. Kumar Sangakkara, director of cricket operations, has a nice mix of youth and experience to work with. Samson’s leadership qualities will be tested but the presence of more accomplished players should make his task easier.
The Royals have been quite bold in picking players who can help them achieve success. It includes some adventurous overseas players besides some prolific domestic stars.
Retaining both Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jos Buttler will provide them with the option of going in with a left-right opening combination. The flamboyant Buttler can change the complexion of any match with his distinct array of shots.
Devdutt Padikkal has been a good addition and will also provide them with an opening option. Else he should bat at No.3. Having proven himself for the past two seasons with Royal Challengers Bangalore, Padikkal will be keen to carry the experience forward.
Samson, Shimron Hetmyer, James Neesham and Riyan Parag will boost their batting down the order. The Royals are expected to benefit if Sangakkara can form a fixed batting line-up and stay away from constant chopping and changing, which has proved to be their bane.
Assam’s Parag was bought back at the mega auction which shows the team management has faith in his abilities. The all-rounder has been inconsistent but has shown immense promise.
The pace attack comprising Trent Boult, Navdeep Saini and Prasidh Krishna is also intimidating. The presence of Lasith Malinga as bowling coach will also help the likes of Saini and Krishna.
The fifth bowler’s slot could be an issue. Neesham might be the ideal pick but getting him to bowl four consistent overs will be a gamble. The same applies for Nathan Coulter-Nile.
The lack of a finisher could also bother them during the tournament.
Key men: Jos Buttler, Trent Boult, Yuzvendra Chahal