“The comeback is Always Stronger than the Setback.”
Rajasthan, the Land of Kings is packed with historical and cultural treasures – a place where people go for unique, lifetime experiences. Ancient forts, outrageous palaces and small hamlets. Rajasthan owns plenty of places to be proud of but one thing that make the people of the state more proud is none other than Rajasthan Royals.
Rajasthan Royals have faced a lot in the past decade of Indian Premier League, from winning the first ever IPL trophy with a massive underdog status to getting suspended for a couple of seasons over corruption and match fixing scandal, this side has faced it all.
Like the beauty of Rajasthan’s special dessert Ghevar, the journey of double R started in an extremely special way when they won the inaugural season of the IPL with some ordinary players, playing to their extraordinary limits.
The Dark Cloud
But every story has a villain and in RR’s dream story the villain was a match fixing scandal – on 14 July 2015, Lodha committee – a panel appointed by the Supreme Court of India suspended Rajasthan Royals for two years over corruption and match fixing charges. And like that they were out from both 2016 and 2017 edition of world’s one of the most popular cricket leagues.
The team which was loved by all were not able to participate and saw its player get scattered amongst other teams. RR have always encouraged youth uncapped talent, they were respected for their approach to help Indian cricket develop. Even after they won the inaugural edition they were never considered as favourites, never ever!
Rajasthan Royals in their 8 years in IPL have had some topsy turvy curves. With the likes of Shane Warne and Rahul Dravid, two legendary characters in cricket leading their way to achieve similar goals and targets, with an approach that could be compared with the distance of North Pole and South Pole, RR has flexibility and adaptability in their veins.
The side that thrived under Shane Warne from 2008 till 2011, was carefree in its approach similar to their exuberant captain. They were successful in adapting to the initial ‘bang-bang’ approach of T20 cricket in India.
Then came a sudden change in their system, RR got Rahul ‘the wall’ Dravid in their ranks, as a captain and later as a mentor. The team had a different look, with a fresh environment and youngsters were blossoming and becoming stars in their own right.
A Fresh Start!
Rajasthan Royals this year, about to make come back with fresh blood and a brand new approach were handed a big blow when their skipper Steve Smith was handed a year ban by Cricket Australia for leading a ball-tampering incident in a match against South Africa. RR took quick action and named Ajinkya Rahane as the new captain.
In the auction too, the management showed a different avatar by firing all cylinders to get their best possible targets.
The aggressive approach of RR was clear when they bought the current best all-rounder of the world, Ben Stokes. The 26-year-old will be raring to prove his worth and lead as an icon to carve his name into Rajasthan Royals freshly sewed DNA.
With the explosiveness of youngster Sanju Samson and the pliability of Stuart Binny and Mumbai’s handy Dhawal Kulkarni, RR has a challenge in front of them to change these players into match winners and dip them in the culture of the ‘NEW’ RR approach.
Rajasthan made their mark at the auction with the buy of Ben Stokes, but another buy which left some eyes wide open and jaws dropped was the purchase of Jaydev Unadkat for Rs 11.5 crore, making him the costliest Indian player in the IPL this season.
The overall look of the Rajasthan Royal’s squad has a brilliant mix of experience of foreign players and youth of domestic players, but they will be banking on the uncapped players to make the most of their opportunities.
Batting wise, RR can give any team a run for their money, but in bowling department they will to be relying on Indian bowlers to fire all cylinders, both pace and spin.
Glamour never attracted Rajasthan Royals, their impeccable vision to unearth domestic talents under some brilliant guidance of mentors has made them an exciting unit to watch over the years.
Marking their comeback this year, Rajasthan Royals will be dying to return in a true ‘Rajput’ style. HALLA BOL, welcome back to IPL.
Rajasthan Royals probable playing XI: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Rahul Tripathi, Darcy Short, Ben Stokes, Sanju Samson, Jos Buttler (wk), Jofra Archer, Krishnappa Gowtham, Stuart Binny, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaydev Unadkat