The Champions of the inaugural season of the IPL, Rajasthan Royals (RR) have been unable to replicate their heroics of the first season ever since. Often considered as the underdogs of the tournament, who on any given day pack the firepower to smash any team in the tournament.
However, they haven’t been able to find that finishing touch, that X-Factor to become the champions. It reflects in the stats which show that RR have been able to reach the playoffs on 4 occasions in the 10 seasons they have participated.
Qualifying just four times for the playoffs does not reflect the quality they possess.
Photo Credit: The Statesman
Under the leadership of Steve Smith, RR have a leader who leads with example and is an inspiration to the youngsters. Add to that two of the most lethal players currently in the game Jos Buttler & Ben Stokes. The bowling department has Jofra Archer who is a superstar in the making.
While most of the players in the tournament will be lacking match practice, RR will have their key players fresh from multiple International series which would help them hit the ground running.
RR possess a pool of Indian talent as well, with a mix of experienced players like Sanju Samson & Robin Uthappa who are seasoned campaigners in IPL and have performed at the biggest stage.
If RR is going to have a successful season this time around, they need these players to step up especially now in UAE where the tracks would be spinner friendly. Tackling spinners is considered to be bread and butter for Indian players.
Along with seasoned campaigners, they have some of the brightest young talents in their arsenal with the likes of Riyan Parag who has been impressive with a standout performance in the previous edition. The latest addition to that list is Yashasvi Jaiswal who finished as the leading run-scorer in the u19 world cup. A lot of attention will be on him . He is considered one of the hottest young talents in India.
The squad looks a lot more balanced this year with some quality spinners like Shreyas Gopal & Mayank Markande who would be eager to get out there and take advantage of the conditions.
RR has a good mix of youth and experience and it is now up to the players to step up their game. They need to improve on their 7th position finish last year and look to be more consistent to have a chance of competing for the crown.
My prediction: 7th