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IPL 2019: Squad analysis of Rajasthan

Steve Smith. (Instagram: @steve_smith49). Photograph:( Instagram )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 19, 2019, 02.58 AM (IST)

The 2008 champions of Indian Premier League is expected to raise their game in the upcoming edition of India's annual cricket carnival which will kick off from March 23.

Rajasthan Royals have made very smart choices when they purchased players like Jaydev Unadkat, Oshane Thomas, Varun Aaron etc.

They already had a well-balanced squad, when they retained Ajinkya Rahane, Krishnappa Gowtham, Sanju Samson, Stuart Binny, Rahul Tripathi, Ben Stokes, Steve Smith, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, Ish Sodhi, Dhawal Kulkarni, Mahipal Lomror and few more.

RR made a return in IPL 2018 after completing a two-year ban but suffered a huge set back when their star player and skipper Steve Smith was banned from participating in IPL because of his involvement in a ball-tampering scandal that rocked the cricketing world.

In the absence of Smith, Ajinkya Rahane stepped up and lead the team but as a player, he failed to deliver with his bat.

Same goes with Ben Stokes, who was last season's most expensive buy, ended up as an unprofitable asset.

Also, Sanju Samson who failed last year despite starting the season as one of the orange cap contenders but keeping his performances in previous seasons in mind, it is very evident that Samson has potential.

But Jos Buttler, who made crucial contributions to the team and stepped up at various instances in last season, is expected to do it again.

Buttler has been consistent with his performance for the England cricket team.

Batting department this time is strengthened with the presence of Steve Smith as he is expected to raise his game for Royals.

Playing for Rajasthan Royals will be a huge thing for Smith as this is the only cricket he will be playing before World Cup, where he will make an international comeback.

Ajinkya Rahane, Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson and Steve Smith are key players in the batting unit.

Followed by Ben Stokes, Aston Turner in the mid, however, players like Jaydev Unadkat and Varun Aaron need to deliver to cut pressure off main batsmen as and when required.

However, Australia's rising sensation Ashton Turner is unavailable for first three games for Royals due to international commitment against Pakistan.

In the bowling unit, Royals have two good spinners which are Shreyas Gopal and K Gowtham and their combination might prove lethal.

Jofra Archer, who is doing well in England's domestic set up, will lead the pace attack along with the new buy Oshane Thomas.

But the lack of backup bowling options is a major threat for the team.

Players like Steve Smith, Ajinkya Rahane, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Ashton Turner will look to deliver their level best considering the World Cup looming in.

Royals finished fourth last season and have the potential to make a come back and emerge as an unlikely hero.

Here is the squad list:

Retained: Ajinkya Rahane, Krishnappa Gowtham, Sanju Samson, Shreyas Gopal, Aryaman Birla, S Midhun, Prashant Chopra, Stuart Binny, Rahul Tripathi, Ben Stokes, Steve Smith, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, Ish Sodhi, Dhawal Kulkarni, Mahipal Lomror

Purchased: Jaydev Unadkat (Rs 8.4 crore), Varun Aaron (Rs 2.4 crore), Oshane Thomas (Rs 1.1 crore), Shashank Singh (Rs 30 lakh), Liam Livingstone (Rs 50 lakh), Shubham Rajane (Rs 20 lakh), Manan Vohra (Rs 20 lakh), Ashton Turner (Rs 50 lakh), Riyan Parag (Rs 20 lakh).