Ball tampering episode in South Africa 2018 saw Rajasthan Royals lose inspirational skipper – then Aussie skipper Steve Smith. But stand- in skipper Ajinkya Rhane did a fairly good job to see them reach the knock- out stages. But the 2008 IPL winners had the potential to go far but lost some key matches and suffered some form slump in between to crash out of the race.
This year with India’s World Cup squad to be picked in between the tournament, the focus during the Rajasthan Royals campaign will be skipper Ajinkya Rahane. Having lost his place in both the T20 and OD sides and only managing to hold on to his Test place, onus is on Rahane to prove his worth and make the selectors think about his name on the plane to England.
Besides Rahane, the return of Steve Smith will definitely boost the Royals. How much he is match fit after a year long ban remains to be seen. Whether he retains the same form will be the key. The sides has two English stars Jos Buttler ( was brilliant but had to leave for England duty mid- way last year and it hit the Royals) and Ben Stokes ( If he fires with his all – round skills he will win matches single-handedly ) and new Aussie hard – hitting Ashton Turner. Turner made his impact during the Australia versus India ODI series. Rahul Tripathi, Stuart Binny, Krishnappa Gowtham can play useful cameos.
Rajasthan Roylas Team 2019 : Ajinkya Rahane(captain), Steven Smith, Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson, Prashant Chopra, Manan Vohra, Aryaman Birla, Rahul Tripathi, Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Stuart Binny, Shreyas Gopal, Krishnappa Gowtham, Shashank Singh, Liam Livingstone, Shubham Ranjane, Ashton Turner, Riyan Parag, Mahipal Lomror, Ish Sodhi, Jaydev Unadkat, Dhawal Kulkarni, Varun Aaron, Oshane Thomas, Sudhesan Midhun
The Royals though is not fiery in the bowling department. Jaydev Undkat has struggled to take wickets and very expensive. Dhawal Kulkarni has inconsistency. Varun Aaron has pace but lacks control . Jofra Archer was the find last year. Will he repeat his performance? remains to be seen. Ish Sodhi is the lone spinner . Their batting has to fire all the time to protect their weak bowling unit. So for Shane Warne and skipper Rahane, they will have to put their thinking caps on while fielding the playing eleven.