Rajasthan has been lost since their title victory in the inaugural season of the Indian T20 League. They had a rich history of an Australian player leading the side with some uncapped Indian players but success was missing. They managed to qualify for the playoffs three times since 2008. In 2013, they even won the eliminator game but lost to Mumbai in the second qualifier. The previous season was worst for Rajasthan after finishing last in the table. Rajasthan released their captain Steve Smith and appointed young Sanju Samson as the new skipper. They also invested a big amount in the auction to change their fate and end the title drought of 13 years.
Performance in last three seasons
Rajasthan’s last three seasons were pretty dull with only having playoffs entry once. After serving two years of ban, they came back strong to earn the playoffs in 2018 but lost in the eliminator. In 2019 and 2020, Rajasthan finished seventh and eighth in the table.
Team after auction 2021
Rajasthan broke all the records in auction 2021 and found support for Jofra Archer in bowling. They bought South African pacer Chris Morris for a huge price of 16.25 Cr. Indian all-rounder Shivam Dube was sold to Rajasthan in 4.4 Cr. To improve their pace-attack, they picked Bangladesh's pacer Mustafizur Rahman. English all-rounder Liam Livingstone was also picked as the back-up overseas all-rounder. Rajasthan always picks young Indian talents and this time, they got Chetan Sakariya, Akash Singh, KC Cariappa, and Kuldip Yadav.
Here’s the full squad for Indian T20 League 2021
Sanju Samson (c), Akash Singh, Andrew Tye, Anuj Rawat, Ben Stokes, Chetan Sakariya, Chris Morris, David Miller, Jaydev Unadkat, Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler, Kartik Tyagi, KC Cariappa, Kuldip Yadav, Liam Livingstone, Mahipal Lomror, Manan Vohra, Mayank Markande, Mustafizur Rahman, Rahul Tewatia, Riyan Parag, Shivam Dube, Shreyas Gopal, Yashasvi Jaiswal
How overseas players stand for Rajasthan
As we told you before, Rajasthan had a history of having big overseas players and no teams can beat them in the popularity of their overseas squad but the performance was missing. Last season, Rajasthan tried various opening options, and this time, they will go ahead with Stokes and Buttler. Stokes had great numbers as an opener, especially that hundred against Mumbai in run-chase. Last season’s MVP, Jofra Archer needed support in pace-attack and Rajasthan filled the gap after picking Morris and Mustafizur in the auction. Archer will be going to miss the first half due to injury so Rajasthan might go with these two new pacers.
Andrew Tye is also another option and he was effective in Australia T20 League. Liam Livingstone would be a good backup option in case of injury. He has opened in Australia T20 League and got runs. David Miller didn’t get enough chance to bat in last season and he might be dropped but he can get the recall if any injury happens or any big player loses his form. Rajasthan have the best overseas squad and their bench strength is also full.
How the Indian players stand for Rajasthan
This is where Rajasthan lacked in the last couple of years. After trading Rahane to Delhi, they lost the top-order batsman. Jaiswal was tried but he didn’t get the exposure so Rajasthan may rethink taking him in the opening slot. Samson is now leading the side and he will bat at number three as Smith has been released now. Samson got good runs in the first couple of games but didn’t deliver when the team required. Consistency is now required more from this Kerala batsman. Pace-attack suffered issues and Indian pace-attack conceded runs more than 10 runs per over in last season. Ankit Rajput and Varun Aaron have been released now. Unadkat’s downfall is a big blow to the side but we have seen that spark in young Kartik Tyagi who can deliver extra pace and bowl very well in death. Rahul Tewatia was the big boost after season 2021. The all-rounder also earned the national callup this year. Tewatia maintained his consistency through the season by scoring 255 runs and 10 wickets.
Rajasthan have just one quality spinner Shreyas Gopal and he has shown his brilliance for the side earlier. He can bat at down-order so Gopal would be effective for Rajasthan. The franchise can also pick Mayank Markande as another spin option. Mahipal Lomror might be a good option now in middle-order. He was in good form in the domestic season. Riyan Parag was another discovery of the last season who put a match-winning stand with Tewatia to win a match from a tough situation against Hyderabad. Parag will definitely bat in middle-order. Rajasthan invested money on all-rounder Shivam Dube who can be effective with the bowl in middle-overs and hit big sixes. Their other Indian players would be KC Cariappa, Manan Vohra, Chetan Sakariya, Akash Singh, Anuj Rawat, and Kuldip Yadav. Rajasthan’s success in 2021 would rely on the performances of the Indian players.
Weakness of Rajasthan and how they can overcome these
Rajasthan’s weakness was their bowling which led by only Archer but somehow, they tried to fill that gap. Middle-order would be another concern if Buttler and Stokes bat in opening slot. They will lack in finishing the inning. Spin option is another issue. Gopal’s performance hasn’t been impressive. Tewatia bowl crucial overs in middle but he is not a first-choice spinner. Too many changes in top-order hurt their preparation and Rajasthan has to stick with same top-order through out the season. Franchise could have gone with a best top-order batsman in auction but they focoused more on bowling. If Stokes bat in opening slot, finishing end will be hurt. If he bat at down-order, top-order will be hurt. So, Rajasthan has to show faith on an Indian player to fill that role.
Pitch command as per the new schedule
Rajasthan’s schedule for Indian T20 League 2021 is quite similar to Chennai. They will play their 7 matches in Wankhede and Chinnaswamy. They have the players like Buttler and Stokes who can deliver success on flat tracks but they have to pick squad as per the pitch. Their four matches will be played in Delhi where pace-attack might draw attention. Their three matches will be at Eden where they can feel the same vibe of Jaipur but combination should be changed.
Yashasvi Jaiswal, Jos Buttler (wk), Ben Stokes, Sanju Samson (c), Riyan Parag, Rahul Tewatia, Shivam Dube, Shreyas Gopal, Chris Morris, Mustafizur Rahman, Kartik Tyagi