5 released players Rajasthan Royals should target in IPL 2019 Auction

Vaibhav Joshi

Rajasthan Royals had a decent run in IPL 2018 under the tutelage of Ajinkya Rahane. Royals finished fourth in the league after having lost to KKR in the Eliminator. Thus, after a reasonably successful season up their sleeve, Rajasthan decided to retain their core group while releasing as many as ten players - six overseas and four Indian players.

Here is the complete list of retained and released players by RR ahead of the 2019 IPL Auction.

Retained players: Ajinkya Rahane, Krishnappa Gowtham, Sanju Samson, Shreyas Gopal, Aryaman Birla, Sudhesan Midhun, Prashant Chopra, Stuart Binny, Rahul Tripathi, Dhawal Kulkarni, Mahipal Lomror, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Steve Smith, Jofra Archer, and Ish Sodhi.

Released players: D'Arcy Short, Heinrich Klaasen, Ben Laughlin, Dane Paterson, Zahir Khan, Dushmantha Chameera, Jaydev Unadkat, Anureet Singh, Ankit Sharma, and Jatin Saxena.

Having released as many as ten players, Royals will surely go into the auction with an aim to fill the voids that hurt them in IPL 2018. So, what exactly are the grey areas that Royals will need to address during the IPL Auction?

Also Read: 3 Areas that RR need to address during 2019 IPL Auction

To name a few, Royals will need to take a look at their incompetent pace department (especially the Indian fast-bowling lineup), in-effective lower-batting order, the opening department (whom to open along with Jos Buttler), and backup options for their English and Australian players.

Thus, after having a close gander at their inadequacies, let us now look at five released players that Rajasthan Royals should target in the 2019 IPL Auction.

#1 Alex Hales

The fiery opener from England, Alex Hales, was released by SRH ahead of the 2019 IPL Auction. Hales, who was the replacement of David Warner in IPL 2018, played only six games for Sunrisers in IPL 2018. From six games, Hales scored 148 runs at a modest average of 24.66 and a strike-rate of 125.42. Howbeit, his IPL numbers doesn't depict the whole story.

Hales has been one of the best batsmen for England in the shortest format of the game. His T20 exploits are just impeccable. With an ability to slog the white cherry out of the ground regularly, Hales has become a hot property in the T20 leagues the world over. Hence, will surely be a prospect to watch out for Royals in the 2019 IPL Auction.

In Hales, Royals could find their second opener - one that has been missing since last year. Alex along with his teammate Jos will unquestionably form a formidable opening pair. Besides that, despite being an Englishman, Hales will be one of the very few players who might stick with the Royals till the end of the tournament as he hasn't been a regular member in the English ODI side. Hence, if not selected in the World Cup squad, Hales might be available for the latter part of the league as well.

Thus, Hales happens to be one of the players that Royals might try to persuade for IPL 2019.

#2 Carlos Brathwaite

Carlos Brathwaite has been a famous name in T20 cricket - all thanks to his four consecutive sixes against the Englishmen in the 2016 T20I World Cup Finals. Since then, he has been the most sought-after player in most of the franchise-based T20 leagues owing to his all-round skills. Hence, considering his overall impact as an all-rounder, Royals will surely want to have a close look at Carlos in the 2019 IPL Auction. The bowling all-rounder played for Sunrisers in IPL 2018.

Brathwaite got a limited number of opportunities in IPL 2018 to put forward his case. He played just four matches in the 11th edition of the league. In those fours matches, Carlos amassed 75 runs at an average of 25.00 and a decent strike-rate of 156.25. Besides that, he also grabbed five wickets at an average of 18.80 and a strike-rate of 12.20. The only thing that went against Carlos was his economy rate. He leaked runs at an average of 9.24 per over.

However, given his excellent strike-rate and average, he can be the perfect fit for Royals in the lower-order. Moreover, he would also strengthen the Royals' bowling lineup while adding depth to their batting lineup. Thus, Brathwaite could be a prodigious pick for Royals in the upcoming IPL Auction.

#3 Mohammed Shami

Another player that Rajasthan Royals should keep an eye upon is Mohammed Shami who was released by Delhi Daredevils ahead of the 2019 IPL Auction. Although Shami didn't have a good IPL last year, he has made considerable improvement in the limited-overs format. He is fitter now and seems to be in a good rhythm.

Shami could prove to be a decent addition for Royals in IPL 2019. He has all the qualities that Royals could benefit from - decent pace, good variations, and most importantly the ability to hit the deck hard. Moreover, if ever IPL moves to South Africa (which can be a possibility), Shami could come in handy as the pitches in South Africa would assist him to a greater extent.

Thus, in Shami, Royals would get an experienced Indian pacer - an entity that was missing in Royals' squad in the 11th edition of IPL. Moreover, Shami being an Indian bowler would allow Royals to accommodate an extra overseas player in their lineup. Hence, Shami would surely be in the Royals' wish-list for the 2019 IPL Auction.

#4 Brendon McCullum

Brendon McCullum, an overpowering opening batsman from New Zealand, has been one of the most admired players in the shortest format of the game. However, in the recent past, McCullum has failed to do justice to his reputation as he hasn't scored as freely as he would have liked. He also failed to notch-up runs in APL 2018. Hence, RCB decided to release McCullum ahead of the 2019 IPL Auction.

Nonetheless, McCullum can unquestionably be a prospective addition for Royals in the upcoming edition of IPL. Although McCullum seems to have lost the Midas Touch, he can work wonders for Royals if given a longer run in the tournament, unlike Banglore who used him in splits.

In addition to that, if not for the longer run, McCullum can undoubtedly be used as a backup option to Jos Buttler who will be leaving Royals in the second half of the tournament. Thus, Brendon McCullum could be one of the released players who might strike a deal with Rajasthan for the upcoming edition of IPL.

#5 Axar Patel

Another all-rounder that Rajasthan Royals should target in 2019 IPL Auction is Axar Patel who parted his ways with Kings XI Punjab after five years of association with them. Axar Patel's injury concerns might have been the reason for Punjab to release him for the upcoming edition of IPL. However, by the time IPL will arrive, Axar Patel would have recuperated from the injury.

Axar can prove to be a smart pick for Royals in the upcoming auction. With sharp left-arm jaffas and an able hand in batting, Axar can bring a lot to the table for Royals in IPL 2019. Besides that, Axar can also solve Royals' problem of an ineffective lower-order.

Moreover, he will also provide Royals with adequate options in the spin department which allow them to chop and change while switching between different combinations. Thus, Axar Patel should be a definite pick for Royals for the upcoming edition of IPL.

Edited by Amar Anand
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