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Rajasthan Royals were the champions of the inaugural edition of the IPL. But, they go into this season as the underdogs, much like many other seasons in the last few years. Let’s take a look at RR’s squad.
Ajinkya Rahane, RR’s skipper, opens the batting. Jos Buttler would be the best suited opening partner for Rahane. But RR has various choices for the opening slot. It could be young Aryaman Birla, Manan Vohra or Rahul Tripathi. What boosts their batting is the presence of Steven Smith, who makes his way back to cricket after his ban, and also Sanju Samson, who strengthens their middle order. Shashank Singh, Prashant Chopra, India U-19 star Riyan Parag and England’s Liam Livingstone are the other batsmen.
This is where RR is better than most of the other teams. The presence of Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Krishnappa Gowtham lends a very good balance to the side. RR also has Ashton Turner, who recently rose to fame with his big shots in Mohali vs India. Stuart Binny, Mahipal Lomror and Shubham Ranjane are the other options available. So, it’s quite a big list.
RR has 3 leg spinners in the squad – Shreyas Gopal, Sudhesan Midhun and NZ’s Ish Sodhi. Shreyas Gopal can contribute with the bat as well.
Jaydev Unadkat is RR’s best Indian bowler. Dhawal Kulkarni & Varun Aaron are the other options. The inclusion of Oshane Thomas, who troubled the Indian batsmen lately, has been a good move.
So overall, RR looks a pretty good side with lots of all-rounders and the firepower of the foreign players. But the team could take a hit when the foreign players leave the tournament to prepare for the World Cup.
Probable Playing XI:
Ajinkya Rahane, Jos Buttler, Steve Smith, Sanju Samson, Rahul Tripathi, Ben Stokes, Krishnappa Gowtham, Shreyas Gopal, Jofra Archer, Jaydev Unadkat, Dhawal Kulkarni/Varun Aaron.