Rajasthan Royals created the history after becoming the first team to win the Indian Premier League (IPL) title. However, post first season, the team hasn't been able to live up to the expectations as they didn't play IPL final post that. In the absence of Steve Smith last year, the captaincy baton had been handed over to Ajinkya Rahane who helped the side to reach playoffs.
However, going by the dynamics of this team is capable of producing unpredictable. In 2008, they came as under-dogs with Shane Warne and Mohammad Kaif only two renowned names in the side, but what they produced was nothing short of sensational. Smith's return will give a boost to the franchise and it remains to be seen whether the Australian batsman plays all matches this season considering he would be one of the key batsmen for the Aussies in ICC World Cup 2019.
For them, the season this year starts at home as they will be seen locking horns against Kings XI Punjab on March 25 at Sawai Mansingh Stadium. Royal's management has picked a few interesting faces with the likes of Oshane Thomas, Liam Livingstone, and others coming into the squad and they will be hoping that change in faces will change their fortunes as well. But will they be able to replicate the heroics of 2008 this year? - We'll find out in six weeks.
Rajasthan Royals complete squad:
Ajinkya Rahane (c), Steven Smith, Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson, Prashant Chopra, Manan Vohra, Aryaman Birla, Rahul Tripathi, Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Stuart Binny, Shreyas Gopal, Krishnappa Gowtham, Shashank Singh, Liam Livingstone, Shubham Ranjane, Ashton Turner, Riyan Parag, Mahipal Lomror, Ish Sodhi, Jaydev Unadkat, Dhawal Kulkarni, Varun Aaron, Oshane Thomas, Sudhesan Midhun
Coach: Paddy Upton
Batting Coach: Amol Mazumdar
Bowling Coach: Steffan Jones and Sairaj Bahutule
Fielding Coach: Dishant Yagnik
Physiotherapist: John Gloster
Two Indian Players to watch out for:
Manan Vohra, who will be playing its first edition with Rajasthan Royals will eye to have more innings like the one against Sunrisers Hyderabad when he scored 95. This remains to be seen if Rajasthan Royals will start with him in the first eleven.
When Varun Aaron made his International debut, almost every cricket pundit backed him for his skiddy pace and bounce. However, on a longer run, Aaron was not able to control his line and length and eventually went for runs. The upcoming season will once again be an opportunity for Aaron to showcase his skills at the supreme level.
Two Foreign Players to watch out for:
Smith will be returning to some good competitive cricket after almost one year. Though after being handed over the suspension he featured in the Carribean and Bangladesh Premier League, but would definitely be looking IPL as a good preparation before the World Cup.
Bowling regular yorkers at a skiddy pace are what Jofra Archer is known for. He not only made his name while playing for Hobart Hurricanes but also helped Rajasthan Royals on many occasions last season. This remains to be seen if he can continue this run in this season as well.