Rajasthan Royals (RR) won the inaugural IPL season in 2008. They started the tournament as underdogs but performed exceptionally well to become the first IPL champions. However, since then, the Royals have not won a single championship. In fact, the Jaipur-based franchise has not reached another IPL final since 2008.
RR qualified for the playoffs in 2013, 2015 and 2018 but faltered in the knockout stages. The Royals finished in the bottom two of the points table in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
The team management will thus be keen to make some changes to the squad.
Ahead of the IPL 2022 Mega Auction, the Rajasthan Royals have retained Sanju Samson, Jos Buttler and Yashasvi Jaiswal. The team owners will look to buy some of their former players, who have previously performed well in RR colors, at the mega auction.
On that note, here's a list of three players who could return to RR after a gap of more than five years.
#1 Karun Nair - Played last match for RR in IPL 2015
Karun Nair was one of the top performers for the Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2014 and 2015. The right-handed batter amassed 511 runs in 23 innings for the Jaipur-based franchise during those couple of seasons.
Nair has gained a lot of experience since then. He has played quite a few international matches for India, registering a triple century as well.
However, the 30-year-old has now lost his place in the Indian team. Even in the IPL, he warmed the benches for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the 14th season.
RR can sign Nair and assign him top-order responsibilities once again. He is an extremely talented cricketer who can become a match-winner if given consistent chances to play.
#2 Deepak Hooda - Played last match for RR in IPL 2015
Deepak Hooda came into the spotlight after his explosive batting performance for RR in IPL 2015. The all-rounder scored 151 runs at a strike rate of 158.94 that season.
Hooda also looked in decent touch during IPL 2021 while playing for the Punjab Kings.
The 26-year-old plays for Rajasthan in domestic cricket. He was the top-scorer for his team in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2021-22, scoring 294 runs in six innings at a strike rate of 168.
Since Hooda can also contribute in the bowling department, the Royals must consider signing him at the IPL Auction 2022.
#3 Kane Richardson - Played last match for RR in IPL 2014
Australian pacer Kane Richardson played seven matches for the Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2014, picking up nine wickets.
In the ongoing BBL season, too, Richardson has taken six wickets in three matches so far for the Melbourne Renegades.
The Royals require firepower in their bowling unit for the 2022 season. A player like Richardson could fit well in the RR bowling attack.
He has played 130 T20s so far, scalping 159 wickets, including five four-wicket hauls, and will be a valuable addition to the squad.