Understandably, RR come into this year's IPL having made a number of changes to their team. IPL 2020 skipper Steve Smith was not only dropped from captaincy but released altogether, and Sanju Samson was appointed in his place. The 2008 IPL champions also acquired a number of all-rounders in the auction, and could be one of the dark horses for a playoff spot.
RR have always built their team around a couple of star players, and given great weight to nurturing young talents. As a result, they haven't spent massive money on many cricketers in the IPL auction over the years.
Here are the 3 most expensive buys by RR in the history of the IPL auction.
#3 Jaydev Unadkat (IPL 2018 auction, INR 11.5 crores)
After picking up 24 wickets in 12 games at an economy rate of 7.02 for the Rising Pune Supergiant in 2017, Jaydev Unadkat instigated a bidding war in the 2018 IPL auction. RR acquired his services for a whopping INR 11.5 crores, but the big buy didn't go to plan.
Unadkat scalped only 11 wickets in 15 matches in the 2018 IPL, and leaked runs at an economy rate of 9.65. With his slower ball being too predictable, the left-arm seamer was taken to the cleaners in almost every match.
RR promptly released Unadkat, but bought him back on a reduced 8.4-crore contract ahead of the 2019 IPL. His fortunes didn't change, as he conceded runs at 10.66 an over and picked up only 10 wickets in 11 games.
Unadkat is still part of the RR squad, but might not get a game this year with Kartik Tyagi in the mix.
#2 Ben Stokes (IPL 2018 auction, INR 12.5 crores)
Another player who made his way to RR after a stellar 2017 season with the Rising Pune Supergiant, Ben Stokes was bought for INR 12.5 crores in the 2018 IPL auction.
The Englishman also had a disappointing campaign. The 196 runs he scored in 13 games at an average of 16.33 in IPL 2018 paled in comparison to his numbers from the previous year - 316 runs in 12 games at an average of 31.6. Stokes' wicket-taking output decreased (12 to 8) and his economy rate increased (7.18 to 8.18).
Despite the poor numbers, RR put their faith in Stokes. But the 2019 IPL saw the all-rounder register his worst-ever campaign - 123 runs and 6 wickets (at an economy rate of 11.22) in 9 matches.
Stokes remains one of the key players for RR, and he'll want to improve upon his strong showing with the bat in IPL 2020.
#1 Chris Morris (IPL 2021 auction, INR 16.25 crores)
Chris Morris, who went for INR 16.25 crores ahead of IPL 2021, is the most expensive player in the history of the league's auction. The Proteas all-rounder fetched a massive sum due to the lack of quality all-rounders in the auction pool, and will make his RR debut this year.
Morris was superb for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in an injury-hit IPL season, as he scalped 11 wickets in 9 games at an economy rate of 6.63. He'll want to replicate the same performances for RR, who've clearly placed trust in him by splashing out such a massive amount.
Morris will support Jofra Archer in the RR pace department, but with the Englishman set to miss a portion of IPL 2020, he might have to bear the burden on his own.