Former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra believes the Rajasthan Royals' (RR) lack of batting depth was exposed in the IPL 2022 final. The likes of Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson and Shimron Hetmyer were the major contributors for the Royals over the course of their entire season.
The 44-year-old reckons that performances papered the cracks that were always present in the RR lower middle-order. He feels RR simply have to strengthen their batting to give some support to Hetmyer, who comes in at No.5.
Speaking in a video on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra explained why an all-rounder is of paramount importance to the Royals. He said:
"They can free up about 8-9 crores, leaving out players like Daryl Mitchell, James Neesham, etc. But the question is will you get an all-rounder. If Ben Stokes becomes available, he still likes to bat in the top order. It is the lower order where the Royals are light. Who's there after Hetmyer at 5? That's the question."
Hardik Pandya was the difference between GT and RR in the final: Aakash Chopra
The cricketer-turned-commentator shed light on how RR just couldn't trust anyone among Daryl Mitchell, Rassie van der Dussen, Karun Nair and James Neesham to solidify their middle-order.
The 44-year-old believes at least one all-rounder is an absolute must for the Royals. Aakash Chopra stated:
"Next year the first thing you should do is find an all rounder. If you find a good finisher then even better. Because you're definitely a batter short. If you make so many changes between Mitchell, Rassie, Karun Nair, Jimmy Neesham, you tried everything but couldn't find the right combination, it means you're a batter short."
Aakash Chopra also highlighted how Gujarat Titans (GT) all-rounder Hardik Pandya gave that balance to his team, which made all the difference. He added:
"If you find two all-rounders then even better because six batters and five bowlers doesn't work. Hardik Pandya was the difference between the two teams in the final. He provided the balance, something this team didn't have."
With the likes of Ben Stokes and Sam Curran likely to be available for next season, RR will be hopeful of snapping up at least one such quality all-rounder at the auction.