IPL 2019: Analyzing Rajasthan Royals' needs and likely strategy at the auction
Possible Buys: Daniel Christian, Colin Ingram, Chris Jordan, Sarfaraz Khan, Shivam Dubey, Jaydev Unadkat, Rajneesh Gurbani, Anuj Rawat
Jos Buttler, Ajinka Rahane, Steve Smith, Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Rahul Tripathi/Mahipal Lomror, Jofra Archer, Krishnappa Gowtham, Shreyas Gopal, Dhawal Kulkarni and an Indian pacer.
The inaugural champions of the IPL, Rajasthan Royals have undergone a lot of ups and downs in its tenure. With the franchise banned from the competition for two years and the recent debacle of their only retainee last year, Steve Smith was a tough pill to swallow for the Royals.
Slated as the IPL's version of the ultimate underdog, RR finished fourth last year thanks to a virtuoso performance by their make-shift opener, Jos Buttler. Buttler was brilliant with the bat after he was promoted to the top with 548 runs in 13 matches to show for it.
While big money signing, Jofra Archer proved his worth with accurate death bowling, the same cannot be said about the likes of Jaydev Unadkat and D'Arcy Short. Bought for a whopping 11.5 crore, Unadkat proved to be expensive and couldn't replicate his 2017 form for the Rajasthan Royals leading to his release.
While RR have a good core of players, we try to identify possible areas where they can strengthen and will be looking to buy in the auction.
With the return of Steve Smith, the middle order is stabilized to a certain extent with the exception of the finisher role. The only Indian within the team that can fill the role is Rahul Tripathi, which doesn't seem to say a lot.
Apart from Rahane and Samson, RR do not have anyone of note amongst the Indian batting ranks and would love to go after the likes of youngster Sarfaraz Khan, who could be a very handy finisher for the team.
With a purse of 20.95 crore available, RR have nine slots to be filled with only 3 overseas slots remaining. With Buttler and Stokes leaving mid-way during the IPL, Dan Christian, Colin Ingram or Shimron Hetmyer could be on their radar.
The main reason why Jaydev Unadkat could have been released is to buy him back for cheaper. While the demand for a player of Unadkat's calibre is quite high, 11.5 crores did seem too high a price for him. With teams already forming their core, RR have a good chance of re-buying him for a cut-price. Overseas pacers could also be another area of interest for the Royals with young talent, Oshane Thomas and former SRH all-rounder, Chris Jordan in the mix.
With a few spots still to be sorted out, RR will continue their happy-go-lucky attitude of buying shrewdly in the 2019 IPL Auction.