Rajasthan Royals created history by becoming the first team to win the IPL trophy. They won the trophy under the leadership of Shane Warne in 2008.
Since then, the Rajasthan Royals have qualified for the playoffs on three occasions but have failed to make it to the finals. The franchise is known to back young Indian players and give them a long, consistent run to showcase their talent.
The Rajasthan Royals have struggled in the last couple of seasons, when they finished in seventh and eighth position respectively in the points table. The IPL 2021 auction witnessed Rajasthan Royals acquiring Chris Morris, Shivam Dube, Mustafizur Rahman and a few other players.
The team released their former skipper Steve Smith before the IPL 2021 auction. Their key pacer Jofra Archer has been injured, and his availability for the entire season is uncertain.
Here's a look at why Rajasthan Royals may struggle in IPL 2021:
#1. Lack of experience concerning Indian fast bowlers: IPL 2021
Jofra Archer is expected to spearhead the pace attack for the Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2021 and so his injury will be a concern for the team. In his absence, the likes of Chris Morris, Mustafizur Rahman and Andrew Tye are expected to lead the pace attack.
The biggest concern for the Rajasthan Royals is that they lack Indian bowlers who have experience of playing at the international level. Apart from Jaydev Unadkat, none of the other Indian fast bowlers in the squad have played international cricket. Unadkat himself struggled in the IPL 2020 when he played only 7 matches. In the said games, he picked up only 4 wickets at an average of 57 and a horrendous economy rate of 9.91. His form will be of concern to the team.
Kartik Tyagi is an exciting young fast bowler but lacks experience of playing at the highest level. He played 10 matches in the IPL 2020 and picked up 9 wickets at an average of 40.78 and an economy rate of 9.62. His inexperience was reflected in IPL 2020 and he leaked runs in the death overs.
Rajasthan Royals have acquired Shivam Dube for IPL 2021. Dube has played a few T20 internationals for India in the past. However, he has bowled just 10.4 overs in the previous two editions of the IPL and cannot be termed a bowling all-rounder.
Akash Singh is an exciting young left-handed pacer in the squad. He was a part of the Indian U-19 team in the 2020 World Cup. He is yet to play an IPL game. Kuldip Yadav is another pacer who has played a solitary List A-game.
Rajasthan Royals will be heavily dependent on their overseas pace bowlers as the Indian pacers lack experience.
#2. Overdependence on few players: IPL 2021
In the last couple of IPL seasons, the Rajasthan Royals have been heavily dependent on a few players to get them over the finish line.
The opening combination of Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler is indeed an exciting prospect. Sanju Samson is the perfect number 3. In case of any injury to any of the said players, the team lacks like-to-like replacements.
As witnessed in the past couple of seasons, in case of a top-order collapse, the team struggles to put on a decent score. Apart from Rahul Tewatia last season, the middle-order and the lower middle-order failed to maximize scoring opportunities in the death overs.
David Miller is the perfect finisher in the line-up. However, he may find it difficult to make it to the playing 11 considering the Rajasthan Royals will need two overseas pace bowlers in the playing 11.
The Rajasthan Royals will also lack the experience of Steve Smith in the middle-order as they released him before the season.
Overdependence on a few players has led to the downfall of the team in the past couple of IPL seasons.
#3. Lack of options in the spin department: IPL 2021
Shreyas Gopal did not have the best of IPL 2020. The leg spinner bowled 50 overs in the said IPL season and picked up only 10 wickets. He had an average of 42.70 and an economy rate of 8.54 which is unacceptable for a frontline spinner. Shreyas will have to get amongst the wickets to enable the Rajasthan Royals to progress in the tournament.
Mayank Markande had an exceptional IPL season in 2018. Since then, he has just bowled 6 overs in IPL cricket. He did not play a single game in the IPL in 2020. It will be difficult for Markande to get into rhythm immediately in IPL 2021 as he has not played in the IPL for almost 2 years.
Tewatia will be the second spinning option for the team in IPL 2021. He has picked up 24 IPL wickets in 95.2 overs and has an economy rate of 7.13. He started bowling his quota of 4 overs from 2020 IPL. It will be difficult for the team to rely on Tewatia as a frontline spinner in the playing 11.
KC Cariappa has failed to impress in IPL cricket and has an economy rate of 9.67 and an average of 43.5 in 11 IPL games.
Apart from the above-mentioned spinners, the squad lacks depth with regards to spinning options.