The biggest news from the Rajasthan Royals camp is that they made the decision to let Steve Smith go before the 2021 IPL auction. In hindsight, this could be a very smart move considering he freed up INR 12.5 cr and an extra overseas option in the lineup that could have a bigger impact. They splurged that money on Chris Morris in the process, making him the highest-paid IPL cricketer at a whopping 17.5 cr.
Making Sanju Samson their captain gives them flexibility with their overseas options but his inexperience in leadership, especially in a big tournament like the IPL, could work against them. They were dealt a massive blow when Jofra Archer’s availability was made uncertain for the upcoming IPL season. He is certain to sit out at least the first four games and could also potentially miss the entire IPL. Losing a player of his caliber would be a spirit dampener for any side and how the team reacts to this would be crucial.
Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler walk into the lineup for the Royals any day. Other overseas players in the squad include Liam Livingstone, Mustafizur Rahman, Andrew Tye, Chris Morris and David Miller. Morris' fitness is going to be crucial to their playoff chances in this season's IPL.
They spent quite a bit on Shivam Dube but it’s understandable given their lack of good options for a pace bowler in the domestic quota. The team combination would depend on how much Stokes and Dube would bowl but one can guess that both of them would combine to play the role of the sixth bowler.
Jaiswal, who failed to make any impact last year, will start with Jos Buttler. Alternatively, they also have the option of Manan Vohra. Don’t be surprised if Stokes walks out at the top of the order like he did last year. Samson, Stokes, Dube and either Lomror or Parag will form the middle order. They will be hoping Tewatia finishes like he did last year.
He will also be the team’s fifth bowler with Stokes and Dube as cover. Morris can be quite handy with the bat and his record with the ball is sensational in the T20s. Tye would have huge expectations to fill the void left by Archer. Mustafizur can also be tried as an option if Tye doesn’t work out. Undakat or Tyagi would most likely be their other Indian pace options for this IPL season.
If RR management feel confident about their bowling options, they could play Miller or Livingstone instead of Tye and ask for more out of Stokes and Dube.
Overall analysis for the RR in IPL 2021
The overall analysis would point to the fact that they have got plenty of players who are multifaceted but relying on them could be a bit tricky. Stokes has been rather quiet since his outstanding season at Pune a few years back.
He showed glimpses of his potential last season but he will have to be at his best if the RR are to finish in the top half of the IPL table. Samson’s captaincy and Morris’ pricetag will be under the scanner throughout the tournament. It could be a crucial season for Samson to make his case for international selection as he has fallen down the pecking order.