Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra has opined that the four overseas players that Rajasthan Royals are likely to field in their playing XI in IPL 2020 are all runaway match-winners. He made this observation while talking about the strengths of the Rajasthan-based franchise in a video shared on his YouTube channel.
Aakash Chopra mentioned that Rajasthan Royals' main strength is their overseas contingent, with the franchise having spent huge bucks to acquire them as well.
"Rajasthan Royals' strength is their overseas players. They have invested a lot on their overseas players and they are no longer a moneyball team."
The reputed commentator pointed out that Rajasthan Royals' four primary overseas players - Jos Buttler, Steve Smith, Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer - are all runaway match-winners. He added that none of the other foreign players are likely to get a look-in if this quartet is available for the franchise.
"Their overseas players - Jos Buttler, Steve Smith, Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer - are all runaway match-winners. And the interesting thing is that if these 4 players play, then the same four players will be playing the whole season, you don't see anyone else apart from them although they have David Miller and others as well."
Aakash Chopra reckoned that the other strength for Rajasthan Royals will be their comfort level of playing in the UAE, with the pitches and grounds similar to their home ground, the Sawai Mansingh Stadium.
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"Their other strength is that there will not be much difference in the grounds in the UAE from the Sawai Mansingh Stadium. They would get similar pitches here. Big grounds, spin-friendly pitches, not 180-190 kind of games but 150 kind of games. So they are not really out of their comfort zone."
Aakash Chopra on Steve Smith's role as the Rajasthan Royals captain
While picking Steve Smith as the Tournament Protector for Rajasthan Royals, Aakash Chopra observed that the Australian will have huge responsibilities on his shoulders as a batsman, especially if Ben Stokes makes himself unavailable.
"There will be a lot of responsibility on Steve Smith. As a batsman, he will have a huge responsibility because he plays spin well and he will be batting in the middle-order. He will have to consistently score runs at the No.4 position and even more so if Stokes doesn't come."
The former KKR player added that the Rajasthan Royals captain would also have to manage his limited bowling resources and extract the best out of them.
"Then his captaincy, he will have to see how to utilise his bowlers. When you do not have too much quality, you have to be tactically sharp to decide whom to bowl at what stage."
Aakash Chopra signed off by iterating that Steve Smith would have plenty of things on his plate, both as a batsman and on the captaincy front.
"So, Steven Smith the captain is going to play a huge role in first deciding the playing XI, then what he does as a batsman and then how he rotates his bowlers."
Steve Smith had taken over the Rajasthan Royals captaincy from Ajinkya Rahane in the middle of IPL 2019 and had done a decent job of it. The Royals' would be hoping that the former Aussie captain would be able to rally the team around and win them their second IPL title.
Published 17 Sep 2020, 10:29 IST