With Rajasthan Royals opting to retain just one player, Steve Smith, they will be going into the auction with almost a clean slate. Considering that they have to build the whole squad, they would want to keep their core strong and one of the most crucial roles in T20s is that of an all-rounder.
Therefore, it is but natural that they will want to buy the best in business, and few other than Shakib Al Hasan fit the bill. The former Kolkata Knight Riders star wasn’t retained by his side and because they held on to two foreign players in Sunil Narine and Andre Russell, the Kolkata-based outfit wouldn’t be able to use the Right to Match (RTM) card on him as well.
The Bangladesh all-rounder had a great start to his IPL career in 2011 when he picked 11 wickets in only seven appearances. He continued his good run of form in the following season and bagged 12 wickets to help KKR win the IPL. Though he missed the next edition of the tournament, he returned in 2014 to score 227 runs and pick 12 wickets and ensure the Kolkata-based franchise win their second title.
However, the three editions which followed the 2014 season weren’t as good for Shakib and he featured in only 15 matches. During that time, players like Russell rose through the ranks and became an important part of the unit which prompted KKR to let Shakib go.
Though Rajasthan go in the auction with the biggest purse, along with Kings XI Punjab, the fact that they have to build up at least an 18-player squad will force their management’s hands at not splurging a large amount on one player. Which means they won’t be going behind the usual suspects in Ben Stokes, Krunal Pandya and the likes.
This means that Shakib, most probably, won’t be attracting as big a bid and Rajasthan would still be left with a purse big enough to add even more world-class players. Moreover, the left-hander has been in great form recently and has picked 11 wickets in his last five T20 matches.
Rajasthan Royals could do a world of good to themselves by opting to buy the Bangladesh all-rounder as he won’t cost as much as the other all-rounders in the fray. Moreover, Shakib has proved himself time and again at the international level and in various T20 leagues around the world and can prove to be a great buy.