Rajasthan Royals were the inaugural champions of the IPL in 2008 and will be back in the fray after two years of suspension. The tournament’s governing council has confirmed that all teams will have the option of retaining a select number of players.
RR was suspended owing to the 2013 spot-fixing scandal, which shook the league to its core and allegedly involved not just players but also some top officials of the franchise.
The player pool available for RR for retention/RTM will be the players’ who played for them in IPL 2015 and who were part of RPS and Gujarat Lions squads in IPL 2017.
Here are the players that Rajasthan Royals should absolutely retain (1 retention + 2 RTM card) for the 2018 season:
1. Steven Smith
Rajasthan Royals should look to secure the services of Australian skipper Steven Smith. The right-hander has played some valuable knocks for the franchise during the previous seasons. In fact, his lone century in the shortest format came for Rajasthan against Chennai Super Kings.
Leading Supergiant, Smith came close to tasting IPL glory. However, his team lost a close match in the 2017 final against Mumbai Indians. His captaincy was appreciated after leading the side to a creditable second spot. Several players like Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur and Jaydev Unadkat were all groomed under Smith’s captaincy.Rajasthan would be more than happy to retain him as not just as player but also as their captain.
2. Ajinkya Rahane
Rajasthan can retain Ajinkya Rahane as he was playing in the team right when they were suspended. He has mainly played as an opener in Royals team over the years.
It was under Rahul Dravid’s coaching where Rahane really played some great knocks for the Royals. He scored 372 runs for Rising Pune Supergiant in last year’s IPL season. Across all seasons, he has scored 3057 runs in 111 matches with 1 century and 25 half centuries.
Rahane has a point to prove that he belongs to limited overs format and that he can also adapt to different situations. Having led India to a series-deciding triumph in the Dharamsala Test as well as sporadic captaincy appearances for Supergiant, he has reasonable leadership experience.
3. James Faulkner
James Faulkner can be retained by the Rajasthan Royals as he was part of the team in 2015 before the franchise got suspended. The Australian can be very handy both with the bat and ball.
Faulkner has also finished games for Rajasthan with the bat. Though his recent form does not appear adequate, he is a proven batsman during pressure situations in the death overs. Considering he is just 28 years of age, it will be a wise decision for the Royals to retain the all-rounder.