We are a month away from the IPL Auction 2019, and the tempo is starting to increase as we are nearing the trade/release deadlines. Besides that, the swap deals between various franchises have given a new dimension to the tournament. This time around, the auction will not be on a massive scale like it was last year.
The IPL Auction 2019 will happen to be an ideal opportunity for a team like Rajasthan Royals that will be eager enough to make few changes to their squad.
Rajasthan Royals had a pretty decent IPL 2018 where they finished fourth on the points table under the captaincy of Ajinkya Rahane. Although Royals qualified for the playoffs, it wasn't as easy as it seemed. Royals had to fight it out to get a place in the playoffs. However, the road wasn't long for Royals as they had to face an exit in the Eliminator itself.
Thus, RR will have a decent amount of task up against their sleeve in the coming IPL Auction 2019. Royals will look to fill their voids in the 2019 IPL auctions.
Let us look at three areas that Rajasthan Royals will need to address in the IPL Auction 2019:
#1 Pace department
Barring Jofra Archer, Rajasthan Royals struggled considerably in their pace department as they were short of experienced bowlers. Besides that, Stokes' sorry run in IPL 2018 made the matter worse for them. The likes of Dhawal Kulkarni, Ben Laughlin, and their expensive buy Jaydev Unadkat didn't really work out. They shelled a lot of amount for Unadkat which happened to be futile as the Saurashtra bowler failed to perform in IPL 2018.
Lack of quality options in their pace department forced the Royals to turn to their newbies: Krishnappa Gowtham, Shreyas Gopal, and Jofra Archer. Nonetheless, the investment turned out to be worthy as these three performed brilliantly in IPL 2018. However, deficiency of fast bowling options made Royals handicapped in the death overs which cost them dearly towards the business end of the innings. Hence, the need for experienced pace bowlers in their side.
Moreover, going into the IPL Auction 2019, Royals would keep it specific while keeping an eye on experienced Indian fast bowlers as it will help them churn out a balanced XI without compromising any premier player's spot. Besides that, the absence of English and Australian players from the latter part of the tournament means that they need an experienced bowler
Thus, without any second thought, RR will look to recruit quality pace bowlers, experienced Indian pace bowlers to be specific, in the upcoming auction.
#2 Lower middle-order
Another department where Royals failed to blossom was their lower middle-order. The lower middle-order cost them a lot as they were unsuccessful in accelerating in the death overs. Although Gowtham did assist them with cameos in quite a few matches, he wasn't consistent.
Moreover, Jos Buttler also failed as a finisher which is why he was promoted to open the innings - a move that worked wonders for both him and the team. Besides that, Stokes' no-show also hurt them. Hence, the need to address their lower middle-order ahead of IPL 2019.
In addition to that, a bit of restructuring to their lower middle-order will make the job easier for Royals in IPL 2019. More importantly, they will need to recruit an Indian name in their lower middle-order while keeping in mind the overall balance of the side. If they get a fast bowling all-rounder under their belt, they would be able to field a better playing XI in IPL 2019. The arguments strengthen as many of the English and Australian players will be missing in the latter part of the league which is why investing in an Indian player seems the way to go.
#3 Backup options in the opening department
4 - the number of openers that RR used in IPL 2018 before they settled with Jos Buttler and Ajinkya Rahane as their dedicated opening pair. Royals had a tough time while selecting their two openers as D'Arcy Short and Rahul Tripathi struggled to get going in the opening department.
Rahane didn't have a decent outing either as he failed to score runs at a high strike rate. Hence, Royals will be in need of a fiery opener who could give them a good start and play alongside the impressive Buttler in the powerplay overs.
Moreover, the need for an opener becomes more critical as Buttler, and few other English and Australian players will not be part of the latter half of the league.