Former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar has picked his ideal playing XI for the Rajasthan Royals (RR) for IPL 2020. He opined that the Rajasthan-based franchise is unlikely to be one of the title contenders, with Ben Stokes not available at least for the initial part of the league.
While terming the uncertainty around Ben Stokes' availability as a major setback for Rajasthan Royals, Sunil Gavaskar picked an ideal playing XI for the franchise without considering him for the time being during an interaction on Sports Tak.
The former opening batsman chose Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jos Buttler to stride out to the middle at the top of the Rajasthan Royals batting order, since this would give the team a much-needed left-right combination.
"I will go for Yashasvi Jaiswal to open with Jos Buttler because he is a left-hander as well."
Sunil Gavaskar picked Steve Smith, Sanju Samson and Riyan Parag to follow the openers in his preferred Rajasthan Royals playing XI.
"Steve Smith will come at No.3 with Sanju Samson coming in at No.4 and Riyan Parag can come at No.5."
Manan Vohra was the final batsman picked by Gavaskar, considering the former's good performances for Kings XI Punjab in the earlier editions of the IPL.
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"You can play Manan Vohra at No.6 who has experience of having played for Kings XI Punjab, where he was scoring runs."
The renowned commentator opined that if Ben Stokes had been available for Rajasthan Royals for the entire duration of IPL 2020, the franchise would have certainly made it through to the playoffs.
"They have a lot of options but if Ben Stokes had been available for them you would have said with surety that this team will definitely reach the knockout stage. But because he is not available, there is a doubt if they can reach the knockout stage."
Sunil Gavaskar's selection of bowlers in his ideal Rajasthan Royals playing XI
Sunil Gavaskar opted to strengthen the Rajasthan Royals bowling attack in the absence of Ben Stokes by opting for Andrew Tye as the fourth overseas player for the franchise, ahead of David Miller.
"If the form of Yashasvi Jaiswal or Sanju Samson or Riyan Parag is not good, then they can consider David Miller but for me if Ben Stokes is not playing, I would take Andrew Tye. He is a T20 specialist and bowls very well."
While pointing out the lack of depth in the Rajasthan Royals' spin attack, Gavaskar said that he hopes Shreyas Gopal will be able to display the same form he has showed in the last couple of seasons of the IPL.
"The spin department could be a threat for them because you need good spinners on these pitches. Shreyas Gopal has bowled very well in the last 2 years and taken a lot of wickets."
The septuagenarian picked Jofra Archer as the premier pacer in his ideal Rajasthan Royals playing XI, and highlighted that the speedster can stifle the opposition batsmen along with Shreyas Gopal.
"Then they have Jofra Archer who can provide the pace and the yorkers. So, in his four overs and Shreyas Gopal's four overs the opposition team may not be able to score too many runs."
He also picked Mayank Markande and Jaydev Unadkat to round off their bowling attack while adding that there is a weakness visible in that department, especially in the absence of Ben Stokes.
While talking about Rajasthan Royals' chances in the upcoming IPL, Sunil Gavaskar mentioned that they don't seem to be title contenders although they could cause a few upsets.
"They don't look to me like a potential winner but they are a team who can surprise. We should not rule them out but we shouldn't have too many expectations from them."
Sunil Gavaskar's ideal Rajasthan Royals playing XI: Jos Buttler, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Steve Smith (c), Sanju Samson, Riyan Parag, Manan Vohra, Andrew Tye, Shreyas Gopal, Jofra Archer, Mayank Markande, Jaydev Unadkat
Published 21 Sep 2020, 12:29 IST